The Teatro Real stage has relived all the passion and drama of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This opera, which is one of the most highly cherished among opera enthusiasts, recovers Mario Gas’ original staging, so praised by critics, with the collaboration of Ezio Frigerio, on the set design and Franca Squarciapino in the wardrobe department. The action revolves around a 1940s Hollywood film set and the public can witness the double effect of the action, the story of the characters and the film, which can be seen on the hall’s screens.
The sopranos, Ermonela Jaho and Hui He alternate functions to play the part of the young Butterfly, sharing the stage with the tenors, Jorge de León, Andrea Carè and Vincenzo Costanzo, in the role of Pinkerton and Ángel Ódena, Vladimir Stoyanov and Luis Cansino, as Sharpless. Together with the rest of the cast and the Teatro Real’s official Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Marco Armiliato.
Endesa wants to contribute so everyone can enjoy this opera, wherever they are. Therefore, on Friday, 30 June, Madama Butterfly will be broadcast free of charge in squares, auditoriums and cultural centres across Spain. More than 200 municipalities in all the autonomous regions are taking part in this initiative, which will have three large screens located in Plaza de Oriente in Madrid and another forty similar ones distributed across squares and gardens all over Spain.
Those that are unable to get to any of the points broadcasting the opera, will be able to follow it via the Teatro Real Facebook channel, by connecting, free of charge, to Palco Digital, the Theatre’s online platform and via The Opera Platform channel. Televisión Española, Spain’s public television station, will broadcast the representation that same evening, at 22.00 on channel 2 (La 2).
As with other editions, the most important museums and art centres in Spain will take part in the initiative, by opening their auditoriums and providing halls for the projection. These include the, Museo del Prado, the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the Filmoteca Nacional, the Fundación Giner de los Ríos, the Residencia de Estudiantes and the Fundación Canal de Isabel II in Madrid, the Centro Niemeyer in Avilés; the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao; Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga and the Colección del Museo Ruso San Petersburgo, in Málaga; Museo de las Ciencias de Castilla-La Mancha, in Cuenca, and el Museo Diocesano de Barbastro-Monzón in Huesca, among others.
In Madrid, apart from the three screens to be placed in the Plaza de Oriente by the Teatro Real, the opera will be able to be followed in 21 districts in the city, with the collaboration of the programme, Veranos de la Villa, in squares, summer cinemas, auditoriums and municipal cultural centres.
At an international level, Madama Butterfly will reach the Cervantes Institute in Peking (China) and various points of Columbia and Mexico, among other countries. In Europe, the connection will be offered via the website The Opera Platform.
Madama Butterfly premiered in the Teatro Real in November 1907. 110 years have passed since then and it is now one of the most loved and cherished operas among enthusiasts.
This opera, one of the author’s favourites, captures, as few others can, the clash of two cultures: the traditional culture of a declining east and the growing and modern western world and a contrast of innocence and kindness with an overwhelming selfishness, resulting in a captivating drama. It also an extraordinary musical reflection by Puccini, who brings together the fineness of traditional Japanese music with his unmistakable style to go one step ahead of his time.
The drama of Cio-Cio San, a young geisha that confronts her family and her culture for her love of the young American naval officer B. F. Pinkerton, who sees the relationship as mere entertainment during his stay in Japan, has touched the hearts of generations of enthusiasts and played an important role in the life of Puccini until the very end. His immortal music finds the perfect pillar in the screenplay built by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, based on David Belasco homonymous theatre play, who in turn seeks inspiration in John Luther Long’s story, possibly based on personal experience.
In relation to this premiere and as part of the Opera Week, two important events will be held: the inauguration of the exhibition, Madama Butterfly and the attraction to Japan, in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and this broadcast of the opera, free of charge, from the Teatro Real, for the whole of Spain and a number of other countries.
Between the 22 June and the 27 August, visitors will be able to enjoy an exhibition in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum that will highlight the fascination with Japan that spread across the West in the latter part of the 19th century, through paintings, posters, picture cards, chinaware, photographs, fashion accessories and theatre screenplays from the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the ABC Museum, the Performing Arts Museum of the Istitut del Teatre (Theatre Museum) and the SGAE’S Documentation and Archive Centre, among other museums and collections. Access to the exhibition is free.