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MADAME BUTTERFLY
by: Giacomo Puccini

SYNOPSIS

ACT I
While stationed in Japan, the American Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton has purchased both a house and a bride. He is warned by the American consul, Sharpless, that his wife-to-be, Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly), takes this marriage very seriously, but Pinkerton is unimpressed.

Butterfly arrives with her friends and relatives for the wedding. She confides to Pinkerton that, as proof of her commitment to her new husband, she has converted to Christianity. The marriage ceremony takes place, but the festivities are interrupted by the Bonze, a Shinto priest, who curses Butterfly for having given up her religion. Her friends and relatives renounce her, but she asserts that she is happy in Pinkerton's love.

ACT II
Pinkerton has been gone from Japan for three years. Butterfly, still an outcast from her family, remains confident of his return. Sharpless arrives with a letter from him. Butterfly is so excited about it that the consul is never able to read it in full. When he suggests that Pinkerton might never return, Butterfly reveals that, unknown to Pinkerton, she has borne him a son. Sharpless promises to tell him of the child. A cannon shot from the harbor announces the return of Pinkerton's ship. Butterfly, with her servant Suzuki, decorates the house. As night closes in, she waits for her husband.

ACT III
Butterfly has waited through the night, but only after she has gone to rest does Sharpless arrive, accompanied by Pinkerton and his American wife, Kate. Pinkerton realizes what sorrow he has caused and leaves. Sharpless and Kate remain to claim the child. Butterfly has no choice but to agree to yield to him. Left alone, she is reunited with her people by following the principle of her ancestors: "Let him die with honor who no longer can live his life with honor."

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