Watch Madama Butterfly LIVE on this page from 6.30pm on Thursday 21 June.
Madama Butterfly is a classic love story that never fails to move, a tragic romance that sweeps you along in the intensity of its action.
When an innocent young Geisha meets an American naval officer she falls instantly and deeply in love. Giving up her family and her faith, she risks all in marriage to the dashing Lieutenant Pinkerton. But her fragile happiness cannot last. Soon love turns to abandonment and betrayal, and Butterfly is forced to make one final, agonising sacrifice.
Bursting with exotic colour and memorable melodies, Puccini’s seductive score conceals a dramatic blade that cuts to the heart. Blending authentic Japanese music with luscious European harmonies and orchestration, the opera is an irresistible fusion of East and West.
Praised by critics as a ‘thoughtful, provocative staging’ and a ‘scathing study of exploitation’, Annilese Miskimmon’s production updates the action to the 1950s. This post-war setting brings to the fore the darker elements of Puccini’s story. Little wonder that this opera has inspired numerous contemporary adaptations and reimaginings, including the hit musical Miss Saigon.
Madama Butterfly is supported by Christopher
Thursday 21 June
LIVE at 6.30pm
You can also watch Madama Butterfly online, on this page and on telegraph.co.uk
Bookmark this page and set a reminder now so you don’t miss out on Madama Butterfly streamed live* from this summer’s Festival here from 6.30pm on Thursday 21 June.
Where can you see this opera online?
1. On this page
2. On telegraph.co.uk
How can you join in?
Join the conversation and be part of the experience by following @Glyndebourne and the hashtag #F18Butterfly
How long is the video available for?
After the live* stream the opera will be available to watch here on demand until 11.59pm on Thursday 28 June.
What is the next opera you can see online?
From Thursday 26 July you will be able to watch Saul, captured live at Festival 2015, on demand until Thursday 2 August.
Our new production of Vanessa will streamed live* on Tuesday 14 August and be available to watch on demand until Tuesday 21 August.
How can you make sure you don’t miss the next opera stream?
Watch in cinemas
Thursday 21 June
LIVE at 6.30pm
You can see Madama Butterfly live* from Festival 2018 in cinemas across the UK on Thursday 21 June.
*Please note that due to the 90-minute interval at Glyndebourne and the need to shorten the interval for cinema and online audiences a delay of approximately an hour is built into broadcasting the first half, which is made up in the second half.
Cast and creative team
Conductor Omer Meir Wellber / Ben Glassberg (12 July)
Director Annilese Miskimmon
Designer Nicky Shaw
Lighting Designer Mark Jonathan
Movement Director Kally Lloyd Jones
Video Designer Ian William Galloway
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Leader Pieter Schoeman
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Master Nicholas Jenkins
Assistant Conductor Ben Glassberg
Music Preparation Alessandro Amoretti, Tim Anderson, Serghei Constantinov
Language Coach Barbara Diana
Assistant Director Rachael Hewer
Supertitles Cori Ellison
Lieutenant B F Pinkerton Joshua Guerrero
Goro Carlo Bosi (19, 23, 26, 31 May; 3, 6, 9, 17, 21, 24 June) / François Piolino (14, 28 June; 1, 5, 8, 12, 18 July)
Suzuki Elizabeth DeShong
Sharpless Michael Sumuel
Cio-Cio-San Olga Busuioc
The Cousin Jennifer Witton*
Cio-Cio-San’s Mother Eirlys Myfanwy Davies*
Yakuside, Cio-Cio-San’s Uncle Adam Marsden*
The Aunt Shuna Scott Sendall*
Imperial Commissioner Michael Mofidian*†
Official Registrar Jake Muffett*†
Bonze Oleg Budaratskiy
Prince Yamadori Simon Mechlinski
Sorrow Beatrix Prawanna/Rupert Wade
Kate Pinkerton Ida Ränzlöv*†
* Soloist from The Glyndebourne Chorus
† Jerwood Young Artist 2018
Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a young US Navy lieutenant stationed in Japan, has arranged with Goro, amarriage broker, to acquire a 15-year-old Japanese bride, Cio-Cio-San(also known as Butterfly). Pinkerton has taken a 999-year lease on a home overlooking Nagasaki harbour; this lease, as well as hismarriage, can conveniently be cancelled at a month’s notice. Sharpless, the American Consuland Pinkerton’s friend, arrives to witness the signing of the wedding contract. He warns Pinkerton not totreat the marriage lightly, as his bride-to-be is truly in love with him. Pinkerton claims to be smitten withButterfly, but he then proposes a toast to the American woman he will one day wed. Butterfly arrives. She tells Sharpless that her family was once wealthy, but hard times forced her to become a geisha. After Butterfly admits that her father is dead, Goro tells Pinkerton that he committed ritual suicide atthe Emperor’s command. Butterfly’s relatives arrive and the formalities proceed. The festivities areinterrupted when the Bonze, Butterfly’s uncle, enters to denounce her for forsaking their ancestralreligion. Pinkerton angrily orders the guests to leave. He comforts the distraught Butterfly, and thenewlyweds proclaim their love.
Pinkerton has been gone from Nagasaki for three years. Suzuki, Butterfly’s companion, fears that he willnot keep his promise to return, yet Butterfly is sure that he will. Sharpless arrives to read Butterfly aletter he has received from Pinkerton, who has since taken an American wife. Goro interrupts, usheringin Prince Yamadori, a potential suitor for Butterfly who she dismisses. When Sharpless finally readsPinkerton’s letter to Butterfly, she gradually realises that she has been abandoned. She sends for heryoung son, Sorrow, certain that Pinkerton will return when he learns that he has a son. Butterfly insiststhat she would rather die than be a geisha again. Suddenly, a cannon booms in the harbour, signalingthe arrival of Pinkerton’s ship. Butterfly and Suzuki decorate the house and await Pinkerton’s return inan all-night vigil.
Early in the morning, Pinkerton, his American wife Kate, and Sharpless arrive at Butterfly’s house. Butterfly is asleep, so they ask Suzuki to tell her that they wish to take Sorrow away to live with them inAmerica. Pinkerton flees in remorse. Butterfly enters to discover Kate there and soon realises who sheis. She reluctantly agrees to surrender her child if Pinkerton will come for him in half an hour. Afterbidding farewell to Sorrow, Butterfly takes the only option she feels is left to her. Pinkerton rushes intothe house and faces the consequences of his actions.