Opera in three acts (1904)
Set in 19th-century Japan, Puccini's poignant opera tells of a geisha who falls in love with an American soldier – and pays the ultimate price.
‘Love cannot kill: it brings new life’... On a starlit night in Nagasaki, these are the words spoken by US Lieutenant Pinkerton (fast-rising tenor Joshua Guerrero) to young Cio-Cio-San (superb soprano Maria Agresta). But as they both learn, words and promises carelessly spoken can have indelible consequences.
With a score that includes some of the most heartbreaking music its composer ever wrote - from Butterfly's famous aria, 'Un bel dì, vedremo' (‘One fine day’) to the ‘Humming Chorus’ - Puccini’s entrancing, enduring tale remains one of the most popular works in the canon. Nicola Luisotti conducts.
For this revival of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s exquisite production, The Royal Opera embarked on a year-long consultation, listening to new voices to work towards a staging both true to the spirit of the original and more authentic in its representation of Japan, with discrete but important changes incorporated to several aspects of the existing work, including makeup, wigs and costume, and movement. The production, which was accompanied by an exhibition contextualising the complicated history and context of the piece, opened to acclaim in July 2022.