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13 mei

American military lieutenant Pinkerton marries the young geisha Cio-Cio-San, better known as Butterfly, for the duration of his stay in Japan. After returning to America, Butterfly waits in vain for Pinkerton's return with their son and painfully loses herself in her hopes. After three years, Pinkerton finally returns to Japan. However, Cio-Cio-San must realise that Pinkerton has not come for her, but to bring their child to America. She has only one way out to save her honour.

Puccini's Madama Butterfly is one of the most successful works in the Italian repertoire. Apart from its exotic appeal, the story seemed made for Puccini, "with the pathetic character of Pinkerton", according to Puccini biographer Dieter Schickling, "who represents all men (including Puccini himself), instrumentalising women as instruments of their lust. Puccini himself described Madama Butterfly as his 'most soulful and expressive opera'.

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