I have not seen many operas and am in no way an opera enthusiast but this piece speaks a universal language that any human being can understand. As such I would recommend it to a first time opera goer.
Funny how sorrow, despair and powerful music can make you feel alive and wanting to live.
The story is of a young Japanese girl, Cio-Cio San, which weds an American soldier, Captain Pinkerton, in Nagasaki. The tragedy is that while Cio-Cio San truly loves Captain Pinkerton, she for him is just a temporary desire that needs to be quenched. Due to Cio-Cio San fragility he nick names her Butterfly and admits “I must pursue her even though I may damage her wings“.
Soon after the wedding Captain Pinkerton returns to America with empty promises of coming back to his Butterfly. She on the other hand “counts every hour of every day” during the 3 year long wait before he does come back.
When Captain Pinkerton eventually does return, it is with his new beautiful American wife and not to embrace his Butterfly that has patiently waited but to claim his son and leave Butterfly in despair.
Just when you think you have had it with sorrow and heart tearing music, the play escalates a bit and you wonder why you chose to (pay and) put your self through such sadness. The answer is to feel alive.
One advice that I have received later is to read up on an opera before going. You will then be able to fully enjoy the music and actors without having to read the English subtitles. It is not necessary to understand every word said as long as you know the plot!
Performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent garden London, UK.