Opera Madama Butterfly
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
based on David Belasco’s drama “Geisha”
Premiere performance took place on February 17, 1904 at La Scala
The premiere took place at the Astana Opera on 15, 16 April 2016
Music Director and Conductor – Alan Buribayev, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan
Stage Director – Lorenzo Amato (Italy)
Director – Natalya Kagadiy
Set Designer – Ezio Frigerio (Italy)
Assistant Set Designer – Riccardo Massironi (Italy)
Costume Designer – Franca Squarciapino (Italy)
Assistant Costume Designer – Assel Dosmuratova
Costume Consultant – Junko Kamohara (Japan)
Lighting Designer – Vincenzo Raponi (Italy)
Choirmaster – Yerzhan Dautov, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan
A performance with two intermissions
Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Performed in Italian
(accompanied by synchronised Kazakh and Russian supertitles)
ROLES AND PERFORMERS
Madama Butterfly – Zhannat Baktay, Honoured Artist of Kazakhstan /
Zhupar Gabdullina / Aigul Niyazova, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan /
Bibigul Zhanuzak, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan
Pinkerton – Fabio Armiliato (Italy) /
Medet Chotabayev, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan / Meir Baineshov
Suzuki – Dina Khamzina, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan / Gulzhanat Sapakova
Kate Pinkerton – Tatyana Vitsinskaya / Saltanat Muratbekova
Sharpless – Talgat Mussabayev, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan /
Sundet Baigozhin, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan
Goro – Ramzat Balakishiyev / Yerulan Kamel
Prince Yamadori – Talgat Galeyev / Kazbek Dosmukhambetov
The Bonze – Bolat Yessimkhanov / Zhanat Shybykbayev, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan / Artur Kaipkulov, Honoured Artist of Bashkortostan
The Commissioner – Umerzhan Kadyrov / Nurlybek Kosparmakov
Yakuside – Khaidar Mustapin / Umerzhan Kadyrov
The Official Registrar – Samat Zharylkasynov
The aunt – Yelena Ganzha
Cio-Cio-san’s mother – Madina Islamova
The cousin – Assem Sembina
Dolore, Cio-Cio-san’s son – Nikita Chainikov
ORCHESTRA, CHORUS AND EXTRAS OF THE ASTANA OPERA HOUSE
The early twentieth century. Lieutenant Pinkerton, a U.S. Naval officer, is preparing for the wedding with the fifteen-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-san, whom he ‘has acquired’ through services of Goro, a professional matchmaker.
Pinkerton is proud of freedom of morals, and in the presence of the American Consul Sharpless mockingly tells about a young girl who belongs to him, and whom he is marrying under Japanese laws, that is, with the right to renounce her at any moment to get married to a ‘real’ American bride.
Cio-Cio-san is madly in love with Pinkerton, and suffers the curse of her uncle, a Bonze, who accuses her of denial of faith and traditions of the ancestors. The wedding ceremony is underway. Intoxicated with passion Pinkerton marries Cio-Cio-san, whom everyone calls Madama Butterfly.
Having promised to return in the spring, Pinkerton leaves. Butterfly’s maid Suzuki does not believe him, and Butterfly is trustfully waiting for her lover.
At this time, Pinkerton marries the American girl Kate and writes to Sharpless to prepare Cio-Cio-san to meet the harsh realities when he arrives with his wife.
Meanwhile Goro offers new husbands to Butterfly. Yamadori, a rich aristocrat, is among them. However, Butterfly rejects them, remaining faithful to Pinkerton, and shows to the Consul her son she gave birth to while being married to the American lieutenant, who knows nothing about the child.
An American ship is arriving in the harbour, Butterfly sees it from afar, and happily prepares to meet the one whom she considers her husband. She persuades Suzuki to arrange everything for the reception of the dear guest, decorates the house with flowers, puts a wedding dress on and looks forward to meeting her husband.
In vain, Butterfly waited all night. Pinkerton and Kate arrive declaring that they will take the child with them. He looks around the house where he once lived with Cio-Cio-san, and with a mixture of tenderness, regret and irritation, leaves. Sharpless advises Cio-Cio-san to give her child to the Pinkertons; in tears, she agrees. Devastated, ready to lose her life, she gives her child a hug good-bye and stabs herself with a dagger. Pinkerton returns to see Cio-Cio-san, but his remorse has come far too late.