Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography




Last Friday, my family and I went to see the opera, Madama Butterfly at the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  We found the performance very moving and easy to follow.

Quoting from Crystal Manich’s Program Notes,

“Madama Butterfly is one of the world’s most popular operas, yet one of the most misunderstood.  One of the main reasons for this is ignorance of a history that is specific only to Japan at the turn of the 20th century.  For over 200 years, Japan lived an isolated existence from the rest of the world.  Once its ports were reopened in 1859, however, foreign naval officers began arriving in droves and with them enough money to engage in “Japanese marriages,” which involved purchasing a wife (usually a geisha) and a house for an amount of time that depends on the man’s situation.  The convenience of being so far removed from the Western world made their actions free of their familial or societal constraints or judgments.”

“Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) is one such geisha, being sold to the American Naval officer Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton.  He behaves as any other officer in Nagasaki cira 1900 would: he’s young, away from home for the first time, and is being encouraged by the system to take a wife and a house for as long as they suit him. . .and for a good price.  While most women in her situation would have understood the terms of the marriage, Cio-Cio San is ignorant of them, it is a trait that forms the core of what makes the opera a tragic one.”

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I have listed some of the English translated quotes from the opera that I found beautiful.  I hope in the future I can take a photograph to represent these quotes.

Springs like a tow’r from nowhere,
complete from base to attic. Comes and goes as by magic!

A smile conquers all, and defies
ev’ry trouble. Pearls may be won by smiling;
Smiles can open the portals
of Paradise.
The perfume of the Gods,
the fountain of Life,

Fair as a garland
of fragrant flowers. Brighter
than a star in the heavens

Quotes from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly

Visit Frickr Comments by FrizzText to see other entries for the “tagged “M” challenge here.


Photos were taken of the cover and back inside page of my program guide along with some editing in Photoshop.  Original cover photo: campaign by Creme Fraiche Design. Retouching: Dave Bernhardt: Photo: David Bachman



14 Responses to “TAGGED: “M””

  1. Such a beautiful opera, Francine. How wonderful that you all were able to see a production. 🙂

  2. “Madam Butterfly is one of the world’s most popular operas, yet one of the most misunderstood…” – but your explanation is very good, so I understood!

  3. Lucky you Francine, I’d love to hear the aria live!

  4. How I would like to see it too. Have always been fascinated by the tragic tale.

  5. Oh I’ve seen the film but not the opera yet! Hopefully, I get to watch it soon. Very unique M, Francine! 🙂

  6. Hello, Fgassette,
    Thank you for your comment the other day.
    I’m sorry to be late but I wrote my answer
    to you.
    Please come and enjoy my blog again.♪

  7. sounds wonderful! i must find a way to watch it too ^^ i heard of it but was too young then to ever understand what the story was about.

  8. A timeless story that touches our human emotion in deep and passionate way.

  9. I’ve never seen the opera and must thank you for sharing the story. Great post for “m”

  10. How great is it that you can have such a grand cultural experience right in our wonderful city? Nice post and a great entry for “M”.

  11. Madame Butterfly when I saw it I cried, I cried so much!

  12. I have seen the Opera and it touches the heart in so many ways.

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