Puccini portrays in “Madame Butterfly” the impossibility of an emotional encounter between two worlds

When the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini presented his great opera “Madame Butterfly” in his first performances in “Scala Milano”, he was at the beginning of 1904 forty-six years old and in the middle stage between his first great works and the masterpieces of the last years of his life … His music became. To a large extent, he was not interested in any intellectual interpretations that critics and scholars could attribute to his “Orientalist” work. In fact, Puccini was not interested in interpretations of this kind, who would not have thought that his great opera art had ideological dimensions. His previous works such as “Manon Lascaux”, “Bohemian” and “Tosca” were works full of the beauty of music, the splendor of songs, and the honesty of Clothes and decorations, nothing more, nothing less. As for the explanations, it later, and perhaps after the departure of this great musician in 1924, crowned with an overwhelming glory that his share was in Italy, but also in France and, of course, the whole of Europe. One of the hallmarks of that glory was that it was always distributed to more than half a dozen great operas which are still performed loud and successful to this day, but it was Madame Butterfly’s share that it received particular attention in which the aesthetic interest combined with the intellectual interest based on what happened in this aspect.Throughout the twentieth century, especially when the East revolted against what it faced, while the West dealt with that Orientalism on the basis of a complex of guilt it felt.

Between spirituality and materialism

Surely “Madame Butterfly” in itself allows a kind of great drowning in this knot of guilt, which can be said to be its tragedy in terms of the spirituality of the East and the “materialism” of the West in accordance with Kipling ‘s famous and said, “East is East and West is West, and they will not meet.” There is no doubt that “Madame Butterfly” seems to be at least partially an application of that saying, even if it seems to us today a pitifully funny. And in any case, she seemed crying and catastrophic at the time when Puccini (1858-1924) witnessed the madness of a world that began to enter modernity and with it all sorts of commonality, sarcasm and a “happy nightmare”. we can certainly understand the failure of the first performances of “Madame Butterfly”, and it was in fact a staggering failure.Puccini would later say that he did not know something like he had in his life, and he would not know in the remaining years of his life what it looks like.But it was a transient failure, as this opera soon received a good amount of modification, and therefore it changed from an opera in two long chapters to a work of three chapters of medium length without any change in his music or in his songs, which soon becomes after a while on every lip and tongue. abundance in variety ie films and so on are quoted. Let us say from now on that what helped in all this subsequent spread was precisely the historical political circumstances that propelled Japan itself forward. And let’s not forget here that “Madame Butterfly” is almost ultimately a Japanese opera, even though the “male hero” in it is an American. It’s a love story of one party anyway – Japanese – and it takes place in Japan as we know it. That’s why his atmosphere is Japanese, his decorations and his clothes are Japanese, not to mention that his heroine is Japanese, the beautiful Chiu Chiu-san, nicknamed “Butterfly”, the title of the opera, his heroine, his victim , and perhaps the representative of Oriental passion in it. In the end, the story revolves around that love that will be fatal to this Japanese beauty, especially when she finds herself forced, according to a certain geostrategic position, to leave her child after a long wait for her American “lover” Pinkerton , the father of the child who in the last chapter will seem to us to know nothing of the tragedy of that Oriental woman who fell victim to his passing wanderings.

victim of gloomy chatter

Here, so that things do not look like crossword puzzles, we must return to the same story. The story, originally adapted from a short story by John Luther Long, revolves around a US Navy officer, Pinkerton, who is introduced to a sweet girl by a broker in Nagasaki, Japan, as Chiu Qiu-Sun, nicknamed Butterfly . According to the traditions that apply in such cases, Pinkerton keeps his marriage to the butterfly between grandpa and joking at a time when he does not stop touching everything in the situation of endearing humor, especially because the butterfly gives him tenderness and boundless love. and give lives. for three years with him, after which he had to leave and he changed Dar so that his relationship with his “lover” would produce a son who would give birth to him later in his absence, and she surrendered to him. In fact, Pinkerton had previously written a letter to the butterfly telling her about everything, explaining the reality of the situation, and that he never intended to return or form a family, and he thanks her for all the affection she has made for him. . But the message did not reach the butterfly, because his carrier, the employee at the US Consulate, when he wanted to deliver it and met the butterfly, touched her from his love for her lover and she waited for him, which made him sorry made to tell her the truth, and so he left her with a broken heart and all hope for Pinkerton’s return to reunite that little family, and she obtained all that The happiness she had promised herself.

The return of the beloved

The truth is that Pinkerton will return to his ship that reached Nagasaki, but he will return with his American wife to show her this country in which he lived for years as a joke and entertainment and that woman with whom he was married. For Pinkerton, the story is still a joke to tell. But the joke stops when he finds out he has a son of that butterfly. And to complete the story in his simplistic American way, he will not have to admit his fatherhood to the child, but rather that his wife will fall in love with the child and therefore he will ask Pinkerton, always between jokes and serious and as a practical man who can never realize the meaning of love and the emotions of that woman who will surprise him a lot to consider herself a real woman for him, he will ask the butterfly to help the child in the protection of his wife, who will take him to America and raise him as if he were her own son. His father is more entitled to him according to the laws and according to the power relations. And the story actually ends with the devastating despair that will hit the butterfly as it passes the child on to his new “mother”, only to discover that she has lived her whole life to deceive herself. And so the last chapter ends with the butterfly killing itself and losing everything, even hope.

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Musical skills and two difficult deaths

From the outcome here, Puccini made his music for this tragic work a highlight in the expression of his musical skill, even though some of his use of Japanese rhythms in some moments when the heroine worries her worries and long waits with escalating escalation Express. stage by stage, became boring and mixed. . However, this did not prevent “Madame Butterfly” from eventually becoming one of the most important opera works in Puccini’s history, nor did it prevent Chiu Qiu-sun (Butterfly) from joining Mimi, the central character in his opera “Bohemian” (1896) was. ). ) of the most humane and passionate female opera characters we see ending in death, one of them a victim of the fates that killed her, and the second a victim of a love that was delusional in a time when love a memory of time eating and drinking.

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