Tune of the Day: Un bel dì vedremo
Madama Butterfly is a famous opera in three acts (originally two) by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. It is set in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1904. According to some scholars, the opera was based on events that actually occurred in Nagasaki in the early 1890s.
Pinkerton, a U.S. Naval Officer, marries Cio-Cio-San (aka Madama Butterfly), a young geisha, in a ceremony she takes more seriously than he. One day, Pinkerton finds that he has been deployed and must do a tour of duty. On the last morning he is with Butterfly he promises her that he will return with roses, when the robin builds his nest again.
At the beginning of Act 2, three years have passed, but Cio-Cio-San still refuses to believe that Pinkerton has abandoned her. She says that, “un bel dì” (“one beautiful day”), they will see a puff of smoke on the far horizon. Then a ship will appear and enter the harbor. She will not go down to meet him but will wait on the hill for him to come. After a long time, she will see in the far distance a man beginning the walk out of the city and up the hill. When he arrives, he will call “Butterfly” from a distance, but she will not answer, partly for fun and partly not to die from the excitement of the first meeting. Then he will speak the names he used to call her: “Little one. Dear wife. Orange blossom.”