The sad tragedy in the opera Madame Butterfly. The story of how her love was betrayed. With a beautiful aria.

Contents.

Madame Butterfly falls in love.

Madame Butterfly is betrayed.

Listen and weep.

Love Betrayed.

Butterfly watching for her faithless lover to return.
Butterfly watching for her faithless lover to return.
Pinkerton boasting to his friend.
Pinkerton boasting to his friend.
Madame Butterfly is dead.
Madame Butterfly is dead.

Madame Butterfly falls in love.

In the world of Opera there are many sad stories, but none can cause tears to flow more than the story of Madame Butterfly.

Puccini's great opera tells the story of Butterfly, a young Japanese geisha girl, who falls in love with the American Lieutenant Pinkerton, in a story set in nineteenth century Japan.

The lieutenant marries Butterfly, in accordance with a Japanese law that allows marriages that can be dissolved on a monthly basis. It was a bit like renting yourself a spouse.

He has no real intention of staying long term with his Japanese bride. He even boasts to his friends about how great it will be when he returns to America, and marries a proper American lady.

Butterfly is so devoted to her American husband that she even gives up her Buddhist religion, and becomes a Christian for his sake.

For this she is cursed by all her relatives, and by the Japanese priests.

After a period together the American husband goes back to his own country. Butterfly is pregnant. He promises to return to her "when the red breasted robins are busy nesting." She takes that to mean that he will come back the following year. But the faithless bastard does not do that. He goes to America, and marries his proper American lady.

Butterfly, however, continues to believe that he will come back to her. She watches every day for a ship from America. The small amount of money that Pinkerton had left her is almost gone, and she and her little son are facing poverty.



If you like "off the wall" comedy, you will LOVE this book

Source

Madame Butterfly is betrayed.


Eventually the ship "The Abraham Lincoln"(Pinkerton's ship) returns.

Butterfly dresses up in her bridal dress to meet her "Husband". But there is a white lady with Pinkerton. The slug has not come back to reunite with his Japanese love, but only to offer to take her beloved son off her hands, and bring him to America, to raise him with his new bride.

The opera ends with Butterfly realising the situation, and killing herself.

The child is brought to America.

This sad story is sadly typical of the kind of thing that used to happen quite a lot. It was not unusual for men who were in foreign countries, or posted to the colonies, to have relationships with local girls. But the girls were rarely considered worthy of proper commitment. It is a sort of racism that, fortunately, is less common now.

The most famous aria from Madame Butterfly is the beautiful "Un bel Di Vedremo", where Butterfly looks forward to the return of her husband, not realising that he has betrayed her.

It is difficult to listen to it without shedding tears.

That is great art for you.



Listen and weep.

Quality items from Amazon

More by this Author


Comments 29 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Oh, what a treat, Christopher. Thank you for this beautiful and faithful retelling of 'Madama Butterfly'. I just listened to the video and Tebaldi was as marvelous as I remember in that aria. Thank you again.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

drjb. Thanks for reading, and listening.

I just listened to Maria Callas singing it to compare, but even though I love Callas, Tebaldi was the best.


Garnetbird 5 years ago

Beautiful Hub-and a very very sad story, as you so well pointed out!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Garnetbird.

It is sad. I,m glad those things don't happen so much now, although the "Thai Bride" thing is a bit like Madame Butterfly in reverse.

Thanks for dropping by.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Christopher, my wife will love this when she returns from work at eleven PM as she has a yearly season ticket. It's a good jog my daughter's here to look after me. I prefer Aussie Rules Football at the MCG than the Balay. (that's a joke) I went to see the Nutcracker and it was a bit one dimensional for my liking, but i might be tempted to go to Madame Butterfly after that beautiful rendition, that brought a tear to a mud-spattered, Brickie's heart.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Keith.

I don't think I could sit through a whole opera myself, but in parts opera contains the most beautiful music.

Regards to your wife, and I hope she enjoys it.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, christopher, that's what I love about hubpages, it explains something to me that has taken years for it to sink in! ha ha I never knew what it was about, but what a sad story, loved the video too! cheers nell


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks for reading Nell.

It was quite a sad story, but beautiful music.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I spent much of the summer of 1972 in listening to the complete recordings of Butterfly from the Metropolitan Opera, on long-playing vinyl records which I checked out from the library, and in reading the score which was part of the package. I'd renew my checkout so I could take it back and listen and read it again and again. This was in Southern Indiana and I was able to get to the library because I had to take a cab to the high school way down the hill all semester so I could get my first-ever driver's license - at age 40!

Eventually, many years later, I got to subscribe to The Dallas Opera for several seasons and then got to see it enacted. But that was a memorable summer of '72 in many ways and "Madame Butterfly" was certainly one of them.

Of course this aria is among the most gorgeous on earth, if not at the top of all of them. I agree - Renata Tebaldi sings it most superbly. Thank you for a lovely treat.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

I have always loved Madame Butterfly, both the music and the sad, sad story. Thanks for bringing back memories!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Nellieanna, and mysterylady 89.

You are both very welcome.


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

I must profess my ignorance, up until now, of what Madame Butterfly was about. Thanks for turning the light on for me. Beautiful.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks for dropping by Stan.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

I have no particular preference when it comes to music.So long as it strikes a chord in me I'll listen no matter the genre.The idea of having to sit through an entire Opera would never have appealed to me. So it is only recently thanks to YouTube that I have been discovering the beauty of the Arias. I became interested when I heard the rendition of Maria Callas' "La Mamma Morta" in the Tom Hanks movie "Philadelphia". This Aria in Madame Butterfly as sung by Renata Tebaldi is one of the most beautiful I have heard.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

SilentReed. Thanks for dropping in. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the aria.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'd always heard of the story, but never had a clue as to what it was about. Thanks for the education, a devoted bride would be most appreciated on this end, and I doubt that I'd care what anyone thought was "proper" outside the confines of my own noggin.

Sadly, it seems that the boorish male is the most prized one by the other sex, haven't figured that one out yet, but if you've got clues and insights, do not hesitate to share them :=p


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Yes it is odd how people are often attracted to exactly the wrong sort of person. I have been caught in that trap myself, more than once.

Thanks Wesman for dropping by.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

It's truly epic in my life; and not just with me. It seems like happy, mutually beneficial relationships are just gifts from Gods. . . .who don't bother to tell the rest of us why we didn't get them. :=\


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

I think we just have to keep trying. Eventually we should all hit "Paydirt".


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Yes, and thanks for flipping that back into the realm of the positive attitude; after all, all we can do is either keep trying, or shrivel up and die sooner!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Too true.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

This is Keith's wife Linda and this was absolutely lovely to listen to. I am very familiar with the story. You can't have the story with out the music, This is what makes it so powerful.

Can I suggest you tap on this link and tell me what you think of this. cheers Lin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miLV0o4AhE4


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Linda. Delighted to meet "The Queen of Keith's heart at last.

I just watched the video, and it is one of the most moving and beautiful productions I have seen in a long while.

It is sad to think, that as there are so many lunatics in the world, that song will never be finished.

Thanks for posting it, and I hope that others who visit here will check it out as well.


eregouf profile image

eregouf 5 years ago from Salem MA

The music of Puccini is so thrilling that I have listened to it for over 60 years. My first “un bel di” was by Bidu Sayou. My friends and I would gather on Friday nights to listen to shellac records of that and another favorite: Troi Gymnopedie by Eric Satie. Much later I saw Butterfly broadcast live from the MET at my local theatre. At that time I really learned to hate Pinkerton and his “bride” so much that I will not watch that opera again. My real favorite Puccini tragedy is ”La Boheme”. I have seen it from the MET live in the movie theatre and a production on DVD from the Australian national Opera Company which was truly magnificent and I will watch it again as soon as it becomes available.

My other favorite opera is Carmen, a brilliant production of which I was able to see on TV. I will also see a version of “I Pagliacci” as soon as I can.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

The thing that always amazes me about Puccini is that the composer of such brilliant music is so modern. He actually lived well into the twentieth century.

The casual racism displayed by Pinkerton has always repelled me as well.

You are blessed eregouf, to have seen so many great performances.

I hope you get to see many more. Thanks for reading.


Anna 3 years ago

My mother later in life became very attached to this particular opera, and it was only after her death that I realized why. My mother was from a very close-knit, unassimilated Italian Catholic family; she converted to Judaism for my Jewish father, in the 1940s, to please his parents. She gave us everything dear to her for him, only to have him betray her later in life by seeing another woman once she began to go through menopause. She returned to the Catholic Faith on her deathbed, and I always wondered if her attachment to this opera was because she related so much to Butterfly.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 3 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

What a sad story Anna. I think your mother was another "Butterfly".


col 2 years ago

I know it's sad, but even listening to the music in Mr Bean and I get emotional the music is the greatest I have ever heard.you do not even need to know the story but the feeling within the music cannot fail to move you.flutter by my butterfly.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 2 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

I totally agree with you col. Thanks for commenting.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working