Story Madama Butterfly

ACT I

Nagasaki, Japan. The marriage broker Goro
presents the young, impoverished Japanese
girl Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly) to Pinkerton, an
American naval officer, as a marriage of convenience.
Pinkerton’s confidant, the U.S.
consul Sharpless, warns him of the pitfalls of
such an arrangement. But while the lieutenant
regards her as an exotic diversion, the
naïve Butterfly falls hopelessly in love with
him.
During the wedding ceremony, she is renounced
by her family for converting to Christianity.
But Butterfly resolutely chooses to
love the man from the “Big Country”.

ACT II

Butterfly has been waiting for three years for
Pinkerton’s return. She still entertains the
pipe dream that she is Madam Pinkerton and
that one day he will come to claim her. Even
her confidante Suzuki is unable to dissuade
her from this fantasy. The consul Sharpless
arrives with a letter from Pinkerton that
should convince her of the truth, but she tenaciously
clings to her illusion, even refusing a
new marriage proposal from the wealthy
Japanese prince Yamadori.
Butterfly has had Pinkerton’s child. She
wants to introduce the boy to him in person.
Pinkerton’s ship moors at Nagasaki harbor.

ACT III

Pinkerton has indeed arrived, but in the company
of his American wife. They have agreed
to raise Butterfly’s son. Pinkerton shirks his
responsibility and leaves the task of fetching
the boy to Sharpless and his wife Kate. The
meeting with Kate finally bursts Butterfly’s
bubble. She agrees to give up her son on the
condition that Pinkerton comes to get him.
But before he arrives, she opts for a drastic
solution, and kills herself.
translation: Jonathan Reeder

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