Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Madame Butterfly aria that places Puccini among the immortals

Un bel di (One fine day) – the justly famous aria from Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly speaks for itself in terms of a beauty and sadness which never fails to move me to tears
In the video at the foot of this post Butterfly is sung by Italian soprano Carla Maria Izzo.
Butterfly has been waiting three years for the return of Pinkerton, the American naval officer, for whom she renounced everything to marry. Pinkerton didn’t recognise the legality of the Japanese wedding ceremony – Butterfly believed she tied the knot for life.
In the aria Butterfly’s love and faith in Pinkerton has never wavered and she imagines his arrival. I’ve lifted an outline of the translated libretto from Wikipedia.
Butterfly tells her maid Suzuki, "one beautiful day they will see a puff of smoke on the far horizon. Then a ship will appear and enter the harbor. She will not go down to meet him but will wait on the hill for him to come. After a long time, she will see in the far distance a man beginning the walk out of the city and up the hill. When he arrives, he will call "Butterfly" from a distance, but she will not answer, partly for fun and partly not to die from the excitement of the first meeting. Then he will speak the names he used to call her: "Little one. Dear wife. Orange blossom." Butterfly promises Suzuki that this will happen."
Be patient – the music kicks off around the 40 seconds mark – and you will be rewarded with a sublime music experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? GC