By Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)
Best often called the tale from the 1904 Puccini opera, the compelling glossy fantasy of Madame Butterfly has been learn, watched, and re-interpreted for over a century, from Pierre Loti's 1887 novel Madame Chrysanthème to A.R. Gurney's 1999 play Far East. This interesting collaborative quantity examines the Madame Butterfly narrative in a large choice of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, old, and political - and in a number of media - opera, drama, movie, and prose narratives - and comprises contributions from a variety of educational disciplines, resembling Asian reviews, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and picture Studies.
From its unique colonial beginnings, the Butterfly tale has been grew to become approximately and inverted in recent times to shed mild again at the nature of the connection among East and West, final well known in its unique model in addition to in retellings equivalent to David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's display version. The mixed views that outcome from this collaboration supply new and hard insights into the strong, resonant fable of a painful come upon among East and West.
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Extra resources for A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly
Ashbrook 117: ‘On the whole, the librettists are more successful than one might expect with Pinkerton. If he is made totally crass, completely selfish, then Butterfly’s devotion becomes incomprehensible. Pinkerton states his easy-going philosophy tersely in his Act I scene with Sharpless. There is bitter irony in Pinkerton’s drinking a toast to a real marriage with a real American wife, just as Goro comes hurrying in to announce Butterfly’s imminent arrival. Seeing this side of Pinkerton, we realize he is merely infatuated with Butterfly, but if we consider his words in the love duet as she hears them, then his ardent outbursts have a ring of sincerity.
Not surprisingly, the most effective critiques of Madama Butterfly have come from within the arts themselves, from those canny enough to restage the music itself. ’ McLaren himself recites Pinkerton’s side of the story with a grotesque imitation of a good-oldboy Southern accent, in language only slightly more crude than the original. In dialogue with this, Cio-Cio-San sings a cheesy pop torch song – an English line-for-line paraphrase of ‘Un bel dì,’ which resorts at the end to Call me fool! call me stupid!
Nor did they talk about why they were taking a complex set of international political problems and rewriting them within the economy of a ill-fated love affair. What they did squabble over endlessly was whether to present the opera in two acts or to break the second part in half. They also worried a great deal about whether or not they should give Pinkerton more music to sing – a crucial consideration if they wanted to attract major opera stars to the part. If ‘history’ entails merely the documentation of what people actually stated as intentions, Madama Butterfly remains sealed up as a formal entity.