Madama Butterfly - Opera de Paris New Season

Synopsis

Place: Nagasaki, Japan.
Time: 1904.

Japanese tragedy in three acts (1904)

Act 1
In 1904, a U.S. Naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for him and his soon-to-be wife, "Butterfly". Her real name is Ciocio-san, (''cio-cio'', pronounced "chocho": the Japanese word for "butterfly" is ''chō'' 蝶). She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a [[Bhikkhu|''bonze'']], who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

 Act 2
Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return, as he had left shortly after their wedding. Her maid Suzuki keeps trying to convince her that he is not coming back, but Butterfly will not listen to her. Goro, the marriage broker who arranged her marriage, keeps trying to marry her off again, but she won't listen to him either. The American Consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton's son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

From the hill house, Butterfly sees Pinkerton's ship arriving in the harbour. She and Suzuki prepare for his arrival, and then they wait. Suzuki and the child fall asleep, but Butterfly stays up all night waiting for him to arrive.

 Act 3
Suzuki wakes up in the morning and Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton's new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag into his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father's [[hara-kiri]] knife. Pinkerton rushes in. He is too late.

Program and cast

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November 2019
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Paris Opera - Opéra Bastille

Opéra Bastille
A great modern theatre
The Opéra Bastille is the work of the Canadian-Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, who was chosen in November 1983 after an international competition that attracted entries from some 1,700 architects. The theatre was inaugurated on July 13th 1989.
Its architecture is marked by transparent façades and by the use of identical materials for both the interiors and the exteriors.
With its 2,700 acoustically consistent seats, its unique stage facilities, its integrated scenery, costume and accessory workshops, as well as its numerous work areas and rehearsal rooms, the Opera Bastille is a great modern theatre.
Stage facilities

Orchestra pit, mobile and adjustable, can be covered; at its largest it can house 130 musicians
Main stage, 45 m high, 30 m wide, 25 m deep, made up of 9 elevators allowing several levels to be created and supported by three main elevators, which bring scenery up from below stage
Clearing zones, 4 storage areas with the same dimensions as the stage
Backstage area, with its scenery turntable
Circulation area, scenery temporarily stored between the stage, workshops and rehearsal stage
Rehearsal stage, the Salle Gounod, with its orchestra pit and dimensions identical to those of the main stage

 

The building

Area at ground level: 22,000 m²
Floor area: 160,000 m²
Total height: 80 m (including 30 m below street level)

 

The auditoriums
The main auditorium

Area: 1,200 m², 5% of the total for the building
Dimensions: 20 m high, 32 m deep, 40 m wide
Number of seats: 2,703
Materials: blue granite from Lannelin in Brittany, pearwood from China, glass ceiling

 

The amphitheatre

Area: 700 m²
Depth : 21.4 m
Number of seats : 450
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona, staff ceiling

 

The Studio

Area: 280 m²
Depth: 19,5 m
Number of seats: 237
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona and pearwood

 

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