The New National Theatre, Tokyo has offered Opera Appreciation for High School Students since 1997. The concept behind the programme is the idea that the first opera that young people experience should be the real thing. The operas feature world-class singers from Japan and abroad, and are performed uncut with full orchestras, in the original languages with surtitles. In their production, stage art and costuming, these repertory productions are identical in every way to regular performances given during the season.
The setting is Nagasaki in the Meiji Era. The U.S. naval officer Pinkerton buys the freedom of 15-year-old Cio-Cio-San in Nagasaki, where his ship docked, and marries her without giving it too much thought. Pinkerton soon departs for America. Despite his long silence, Cio-Cio-San waits for her husband's return in the belief that "one fine day he will come back" and turns down a new proposal of marriage. Finally Pinkerton's ship calls at Nagasaki again. But he is accompanied by his wife Kate. Having seen an unfamiliar American woman and learned the whole truth, Cio-Cio-San kills herself with a dagger left by her father.