The Story: Ultimate Sacrifice. Ultimate Love


About the Film:

Coming soon to a cinema near you, one of the world's most popular operas, Puccini’s MADAM BUTTERFLY – for the first time ever in spectacular 3D!

A co-production from RealD and London’s Royal Opera House, MADAM BUTTERFLY 3D gives viewers the best seat in the house, taking them on a magical journey into the heart of the production and immersing them into this powerful story of love, sacrifice and betrayal.

MADAM BUTTERFLY 3D is a dazzling film, filled with some of the most beautiful music ever written and performed by a world-class cast, which includes soprano Liping Zhang as Cio-Cio-San (the Butterfly of the title) and James Valenti as Pinkerton, Butterfly’s faithless lover.

With subtitles available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, MADAM BUTTERFLY 3D is a perfect experience for life-long opera fans and first-timers alike. Exclusively in RealD cinemas worldwide Spring 2012!



About the Opera:

MADAM BUTTERFLY 3D is an elegant and powerful RealD and Royal Opera House production, directed for the stage by acclaimed directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, and beautifully filmed in 3D by film director Julian Napier. The production features a supremely talented cast, superbly performing this gripping drama to Puccini’s haunting score.

First performed in 1904, Madam Butterfly (Madama Butterfly) tells the dramatic and heart-rending tale of Cio-Cio-San, an innocent, loyal and ultimately betrayed woman. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, contracts a marriage to this beautiful Japanese geisha without any commitment on his part. Puccini was moved by the story of Pinkerton’s carelessness and its devastating effects, originally told in a successful novel and play, and composed music of rare and sensual beauty for his opera Madam Butterfly. The score shows the influence of authentic Japanese songs, enhanced by Puccini’s own Italianate passion.

In this spectacular production, world-famous soprano Liping Zhang, sings the role of the ill-fated Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly), a role she has performed at the world’s leading opera houses. James Valenti makes an especially dashing Pinkerton, the character whose thoughtless toying with love is the catalyst for this tragic tale. The ravishing score features wonderfully lyrical passages such as Cio-Cio-San’s first entrance, the duet in which Pinkerton seduces his bride, the famous ‘Humming Chorus’ and, of course, Cio-Cio-San’s dramatic Act II aria ‘Un bel dì vedremo’.

Considered one of Puccini’s greatest masterpieces, Madam Butterfly displays the drama, musical richness and sheer power of great performance that makes The Royal Opera truly world class.



A hillside overlooking the town and harbour of Nagasaki

ACT I

Lieutenant Pinkerton has negotiated with Goro, a marriage broker, to marry Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). The wedding is about to take place and Pinkerton is inspecting the house that is included in the marriage contract. Goro introduces Pinkerton to the servants, who include Suzuki, Butterfly’s maid. Goro is describing to Pinkerton the form his wedding will take when Sharpless, the American Consul, arrives. He and Pinkerton drink a toast to America (Dovunque al mondo… America for ever). Sharpless asks Pinkerton if he is not infatuated with Butterfly; Pinkerton is unsure (Amore o grillo), but he wants to possess her even though he knows this may hurt her. Sharpless fears for Butterfly’s future and tries to dissuade Pinkerton from marrying her. Pinkerton’s reply is to toast the ‘real’ American wife he will have one day.

Goro returns to announce the approach of Butterfly and her friends (Quanto cielo! Quanto mar!). Sharpless asks Butterfly about her family. She says they fell on hard times and the women had to become geishas to support themselves; her mother is coming to the wedding but her father is dead. Officials and relations arrive. Butterfly shows Pinkerton her possessions except for the most sacred one. Goro tells Pinkerton what this is: a dagger given by the Mikado to Butterfly’s father – an order to commit suicide, which he obeyed. Butterfly tells Pinkerton that for his sake she has become a Christian, but she has not told her family.

The couple are married in a brief ceremony. The ensuing celebrations are interrupted by the Bonze, one of Butterfly’s uncles, who berates Butterfly because he has discovered she has turned her back on her religion. Her family join his curses and Pinkerton angrily orders everyone to leave. Alone with Butterfly, Pinkerton tries to comfort his bride and, as night falls, he leads her into the house (Viene la sera).

ACT II
Three years later

Pinkerton has been recalled to America. Butterfly and the faithful Suzuki are still living in the house. They have little money but Butterfly refuses to believe that Pinkerton has deserted her and tells Suzuki how he will return to her one fine day (Un bel dì).

Sharpless arrives with Goro to say that he has had a letter from Pinkerton. So great is Butterfly’s excitement that he gets no opportunity to tell her the rest of Pinkerton’s message. She tells Sharpless of Goro’s attempts to marry her off to another suitor, and Sharpless watches while she fends off the latest of them, the wealthy Yamadori. Goro tells the men that Pinkerton’s ship is on the point of arriving, and Yamadori leaves.

Sharpless attempts to read the rest of Pinkerton’s letter to Butterfly and tries to persuade her to accept Yamadori. Her answer is to bring in her child – Pinkerton’s child – of whose existence neither Sharpless nor Pinkerton had any knowledge. If Pinkerton deserted her, Butterfly would have two options – to become a beggar, or to die (Che tua madre). Sharpless, overcome with emotion, goes, promising to tell Pinkerton about his child.

Suzuki drags in Goro, who has been spreading rumours in Nagasaki that Butterfly has a fatherless child. Butterfly’s anger with him evaporates. The harbour cannon is heard signalling the arrival of a ship. Butterfly recognizes it as Pinkerton’s. She decorates the house to celebrate his arrival and tells Suzuki to fill the room with flowers (Scuoti quella fronda). Then she puts on her wedding dress to wait for her husband.

ACT III
Dawn the following day

Suzuki persuades Butterfly to sleep after her fruitless all-night vigil. Sharpless arrives at the house with Pinkerton and his American wife Kate. Suzuki tells Pinkerton of Butterfly’s fidelity and her happiness at his return. But Sharpless explains that he needs Suzuki to help them break the news to Butterfly that Pinkerton is married; together they must secure the child’s future (Io so che alle sua pene). Pinkerton gives Sharpless money for Butterfly and, unable to face her, leaves in distress (Addio, fiorito asil). It is left to Suzuki to tell Butterfly the truth.

Kate Pinkerton asks whether she may take the child away so that he can be properly cared for. Butterfly, maintaining her dignity, replies that if Pinkerton returns to the house in half an hour she will give him the boy. When the visitors have left, she dismisses Suzuki and prepares herself for a ceremonial suicide. Suzuki pushes the child into the room, and Butterfly bids him goodbye (Tu? piccolo Iddio!); she then kills herself. Pinkerton is heard calling her name.
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REALD AND ROYAL OPERA HOUSE PRESENT “MADAM BUTTERFLY 3D” BY GIACOMO PUCCINI
A PLF
PRODUCTION A JULIAN NAPIER FILM CIO-CIO SAN LIPING ZHANG PINKERTON JAMES VALENTI
IN MOSHE LEISER AND PATRICE CAURIER'S STAGING OF MADAMA BUTTERFLY
MUSIC PRODUCER DAVID GROVES CONDUCTOR PAUL WYNNE GRIFFITHS EDITORS JULIAN NAPIER AND STROO OLOFSSON
LINE PRODUCER ABIGAIL WELLER LIGHTING SUPERVISOR MIKE LE FEVRE EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS REALD AND ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
PRODUCER PHIL STREATHER DIRECTED BY JULIAN NAPIER