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Ended 25 Apr 2017 after 36 days

America meets Japan as Puccini's tearjerker returns to Covent Garden

Closed 25 Apr 2017

Puccini's tragic masterpiece returns

Puccini's celebrated opera first premiered in 1904 and remains one of his most performed works throughout the world. Ermonela Jaho and Ana María Martínez divide the iconic role of Cio-Cio-San between them and their respective casts throughout this engagement. Antonio Pappano and Renato Balsadonna share conducting duties in this fiery and romantic story, which formed the basis for another great stage work; the multi award winning West End and Broadway musical, Miss Saigon.

The tragic tale of Cio-Cio San

The title character Madama Butterfly or, Cio-Cio San to her friends - is a young Japanese geisha who naively believes her marital arrangement with a visiting American naval officer is a loving and permanent marriage. One of the most defining and tragic roles in contemporary opera, the story strips away the Orientalism and casual imperialism to the people affected directly by the actions of Pinkerton and his callous attitude towards Cio-Cio San, who he leaves with their child, only to return three years later with a new, American wife. Rather than live in shame, Cio-Cio San chooses to die with honor, committing suicide with the very same knife used by her father, but not before shielding her son's eyes first.

One of the most and stirring and tearjerking musical pieces in the opera is the iconic Humming Chorus, which takes place off-stage as Cio-Cio San, her son, and her maid Suzuki start the long vigil through the night as they wait for Pinkerton's ship to dock at Nagasaki.

Additional Information


Opening night: 20 March 2017

Closing night: 25 April 2017


Suitable for ages 12+

Run time

Two hours 45 minutes, including one interval

And before you stop reading

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

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