Madama Butterfly

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June 2023

1. Act

In the vicinity of Nagasaki visited the American naval lieutenant Pinkerton a little house, which he will rent the owner Goro. Here he will spend his honeymoon with the Japanese geisha Cio-Cio-San, with that girl he compares with a butterfly and he intends to take under the then tolerated practice in temporary marriage to wife. What Suzuki, Butterfly's maid, and Goro tell him about his bride can not change his carelessness, nor the compassion that brings the American consul Sharpless expressed. They hit each other, but the toast Pinkerton is America and all that binds him to America.

Cio-cio-san appears, accompanied by her friends. During the wedding ceremony is being prepared, she talks about her life, her family. The family impoverished by the suicide of her father. She tells Pinkerton also said that she has accepted his faith.
This symbol of love leads immediately after the ceremony to an incident: her uncle, a Buddhist priest, is to curse them by reason of their apostasy. But more than the butterfly would sacrifice to her husband to be complacent. And in the magic of the oncoming night also feels for the stranger moments of the size of the heart that beats to meet him.

2. Act

Three years waiting for Cio-Cio-San is already on her husband, whom she gave birth to a son. Pinkerton had promised her before he left to come back. In her mind she sees his ship, but also the prayers Suzuki, her servant, are unable to bring forward the beloved. Sharpless occurs, but its mission goes beyond his strength: he is to tell Cio-cio-san, that Pinkerton had married in America that the geisha is free again. Cio-Cio-San the consul can hardly read what is in Pinkerton's letter, beside himself with joy to finally hear something from her lover, she asks. Goro has learned of the marriage, Pinkerton and brings out the rich Yamadori with a suitor. In the opinion Butterfly Sharpless had already been informed, they submit their proposal and are rejected by the clueless indignation. Goro has some news: Pinkerton's ship was expected in port. Butterfly's joy is so great that Sharpless still is not finding the courage to tell her the truth. His advice to marry Yamadori finds incomprehension. Does not he know that she and Pinkerton in hand, he does not see it in the eyes of her child? In her house decorated Butterfly waits with her servant for one night, one last night, nor to her husband.

3. Act

Until morning Cho-Cho-San was overwhelmed by sleep. As Pinkerton is accompanied by the consul, he is received by Suzuki. Her portrayal of Butterfly's loyal to his heart takes him. But Suzuki has to see that fate is inevitable: in the garden she saw the wife of Pinkerton, the woman he has brought from America. Full of remorse, fled Pinkerton, Kate, and the Consul are shaken. Madame Butterfly detected at a glance the situation. Their elation gives way to a frightening calm: she gives in to pressure to surrender her child to the father, he may even pick it up quickly. Left alone, Butterfly takes leave of her child. Then she kills herself after the manner of their fathers. "To die with honor, who can no longer live with honor."

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Program and cast

Musical direction: Antonello Manacorda
Production: Anthony Minghella
Direction and Choreography: Carolyn Choa
Stage: Michael Levine
Costumes: Han Feng
Lighting: Peter Mumford
Puppet design and direction: Blind Summit, Theatre Mark Down & Nick Barnes
Cio-Cio-San: Sonya Yoncheva
Suzuki: Isabel Signoret
Kate Pinkerton: Alma Neuhaus
Pinkerton: Charles Castronovo
Sharpless: Boris Pinkhasovich
Goro: Andrea Giovannini
Prince Yamadori: Hiroshi Amako
Uncle Bonze: Evgeny Solodovnikov

Photo gallery

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.


Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.


The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.


On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.


The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.


On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.


The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.


Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
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