Ballet & Dance

New Production
Madama Butterfly
Music by Giacomo Puccini (1904)
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa / Luigi Illica
6 performances

June 24(Fri)6:30pm, 27(Mon)6:30pm, 30(Thu)7:00pm, July 3(Sun)3:00pm,
6(Wed)2:00pm, 9(Sat)3:00pm 2005
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes with 1 intermission

Conductor: Renato Palumbo
Director: Kuriyama Tamiya
Scenery Design: Shima Jiro
Costume Design: Maeda Ayako *
Lighting Design: Katsushiba Jiro

Madama Butterfly: Omura Hiromi
Pinkerton: Hugh Smith
Sharpless: Claudio Otelli **
Suzuki: Nakasugi Tomoko

*The costume designer has been changed to Maeda Ayako from Wada Emi.
Please refer to New National Theatre News.

**William Shimell, who was originally to perform the role of Sharpless, is unable to perform.
Alternatively, Claudio Otelli is taking his place.
Please refer to New National Theatre News.

Madama Butterfly is one of the three greatest masterpieces by Giacomo Puccini, a maestro of Italian opera. Its beautiful music and dramatic plot are loved by all people the world over from first-time opera goers to enthusiastic opera aficionados. In particular, since the melodies of Sakura Sakura, Echigo Jishi and other traditional Japanese pieces of music, as well as folksongs are scattered throughout the work, this famous opera fascinates the Japanese audience in a slightly different way from other operas. It is based on the American writer J.L. Long’s best-selling novel Madame Butterfly. The dramatist David Belasco adapted this novel for a play, first performed in the United States and achieving great success. The adaptation of this drama for the opera was realized because Puccini, who was visiting the United Kingdom to attend the London premiere of Tosca, saw a performance of the play in the city and found himself moved even though he could not understand English. The opera contributed greatly to Japanese soprano singers finding their way into Western operatic circles because the title role is that of a Japanese. Many Japanese singers, including Miura Tamaki, a postwar international prima donna, as well as Nagato Miho, Hayashi Yasuko, Watanabe Yoko and Matsumoto Miwako, made their debut overseas as Cio-Cio-San together with other distinguished soprano singers from other countries, subsequently widening the range of roles in their operatic repertoires. This is the NNTT’s second new production of the opera following its 1998 NNTT premiere directed by Kuriyama Masayoshi. The director will be Kuriyama Tamiya, who has an established reputation for his orthodox and persuasive direction of many dramatic works. The conductor will be R. Palumbo, who excels in Italian opera. The attention-arresting title role will be sung by Omura Hiromi, who studied in France before coming into sudden prominence with her successful debut in Japan in 2002.
The curtain rises on the top of a hill overlooking the Bay of Nagasaki around the Meiji period. The American naval officer Pinkerton marries the 15-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-San with the help of the marriage broker Goro. She is pure in heart, but Pinkerton is not serious and intends to be married to her only while he is temporarily stationed in Japan. He is reproached by Sharpless, the American consul in Nagasaki, for his lack of sincerity. Before long, Pinkerton returns home. Cio-Cio-San, together with her servant Suzuki and her three-year-old boy by Pinkerton, awaits Pinkerton’s return. Believing that he will surely return on a fine day and dreaming that such a day will come, she pays no attention to Goro when he recommends a new marriage partner. Sharpless, meanwhile, learns that Pinkerton has officially gotten married in the United States but cannot bring himself to tell that fact to Cio-Cio-San, who firmly believes in Pinkerton. And the fateful moment comes. Arriving in Nagasaki accompanied by his wife Kate, Pinkerton hears that Cio-Cio-San has awaited his return and, suddenly filled with guilt, is not able to face her. Having realized the truth, Cio-Cio-San decides to hand over her son to Kate and then kills herself with the sword she has kept as a keepsake of her father.
  <Conductor> <Director>  
  Renato Palumbo Kuriyama Tamiya  
<Main Cast>
Omura Hiromi Hugh Smith Claudio Otelli Nakasugi Tomoko