Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – entirely without set or costume, but with drama. During our performance, the Staatsorchester Stuttgart’s musicians are placed on the stage, the singers act it out in front of it. The audience therefore gets the opportunity to concentrate fully on the musical performance, conducted by Cornelius Meister.
In 1853, the US battle fleet forced Japan to open its ports and enter into business with America. “The vigorous pressing of America’s handshake given kindly, but offered with zeal and capable of both striking and embracing at the same time, rocked the isolation of the Japanese and made them sensitive for their relationship towards the rest of the world” according to the recollection of Captain M C Perry, then commander of the fleet. Puccini himself never visited Japan, but with his Japanese tragedy about the geisha Cio-Cio-San and her love for American Naval officer Pinkerton, he created an affecting testimony for any form of one-sided cultural transfer. By choosing the “American way of life” Cio-Cio-San accepts a cut-off from her past and her cultural traditions, but is left behind, pregnant though full of hope for the future. Her hopes, however, are cruelly dashed in the end.