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Madama Butterfly - Sferisterio Festival 2017 tickets

» Home    » Opera Festivals Italy 2017    » Macerata Sferisterio Opera Festival Italy 2017    » Madama Butterfly - Sferisterio Festival 2017
 
 
Madama Butterfly - Sferisterio Festival 2017

Venue: Macerata Sferisterio

 
Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, 10, 62100 Macerata MC, Italia
 
 
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Event details
 
Composer: Giacomo Puccini

Synopsis

 

Act 1

In 1904, a U.S. Naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, "Butterfly". Her real name is Ciocio-san (cio-cio, pronounced "chocho" [t͡ʃoːt͡ʃoː], the Japanese word for "butterfly" (蝶々 chōchō?); san is a plain honorific). She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

 

Act 2

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return, as he had left shortly after their wedding. Her maid Suzuki keeps trying to convince her that he is not coming back, but Butterfly will not listen to her. Goro, the marriage broker who arranged her marriage, keeps trying to marry her off again, but she won't listen to him either. The American Consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton's son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

From the hill house, Butterfly sees Pinkerton's ship arriving in the harbour. She and Suzuki prepare for his arrival, and then they wait. Suzuki and the child fall asleep, but Butterfly stays up all night waiting for him to arrive.

 

Act 3

Suzuki wakes up in the morning and Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton's new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag in his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father's hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but he is too late, and Butterfly dies.

 
Program details
 

Conductor: Massimo Zanetti
Director: Nicola Berloffa

 

 
Venue
 
Macerata Sferisterio
 

History

An ancient Italian national sport or pallone col bracciale was the most popular sport in Italy for almost five centuries. This game dated back to the 15th century. The people of Macerata decided that they needed somewhere large to play and watch it; a place that could also be used for public spectacles such as circuses and even bull fights. One hundred citizens raised the money themselves, and got Ireneo Aleandri to design and build it. The design involved the destruction and rebuilding of some of the historic city walls next to the Porta Mercato gate.

The strait side of the arena is a wall 18 metres high and 88 metres long, along which is a line of arches separated by 56 columns carrying a double row of boxes, and a stone gallery, all in Neoclassical style.

Over the years the popularity of pallone decreased and that of football replaced it. In 1919 the surface was levelled to allow for this, and also for tennis courts. The arena had been used for the occasional theatrical event from 1871, but from about 1914 opera began to be put on there.

Present day use[edit]

In 1921, as the first presentation of what would become the Sferisterio Opera Festival, Pieralberto Conti staged Verdi's Aida paid for by the soprano, Francisca Solari. This was followed by all parts of the arena, both front- and back-stage, being renovated and electricity introduced.

Today it holds an audience of over 3,000. The stage is 14.5 meters deep and 40 meters wide, with 10 meter wings each side of that. It is rather unusual shape for musical performances (musicians at each end of the pit cannot hear each other) but the acoustics are surprisingly good (at least near the middle).

The present day opera festival, beginning in the late 1980s and under the auspices of the Macerata Opera, takes place in this location.

 
 
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