Sunday, 20 March 2011

Ciao Cio-Cio San

As long-standing Puccini fans, you can imagine how excited we were to discover that his opera, Madam Butterfly was coming to London.

We used to play the soundtrack often in our old apartment and its famous aria is our favourite classical piece of all time.

I was very fortunate to get tickets for the opera at the Royal Albert Hall, coinciding with the first mates birthday month.

The Albert Memorial in Hyde park - 176ft tall and erected to the memory of the late Prince Consort at a princely cost of £120,000 (1896)

Needs no introduction - well okay then - it's the Royal Albert Hall..

The oriental and opulent set is a Japanese water garden containing some 15,000 gallons of water, which can disappear into concealed tanks in a thrice, leaving a brushed gravel Japanese garden.

I was impressed as to how many Japanese visitors made the effort to attend - many in national costume and complete with cameras hidden in the folds of kimono.

The wedding photograph as Cio-Cio san marries the imperialist US naval lieutenant, Pinkerton.

Once he has had his wicked way with the geisha, he trots back to America and marries his second wife, leaving Cio-Cio with child.

Needless to say, it ends in tears, both literately and literally.

Cio-Cio commits hari-kiri when they try to take her child from her and she is disowned by her own people.

Asako Tamura, who played and sang the lead, ended up with the mascara running down her face as the audience gave her a 5 minutes long standing ovation.

Absolutely brilliant.

What has this to do with canals - unadshamely nothing at all - Puccini did have a dayboat called "Butterfly" on the lake at Torre del Lago.


  1. Hello My name is Paul I'm Asako Tamura's boyfriend from New york city . I was at that performance you went to . I just wanted you to know the 2 japanese visitors you photographed were her mother and her aunt . Her mom is on the left.I would also like to thank you for the kind words about my butterfly . I love your blog .

  2. Hi Paul. Wow - small world. Thanks for replying. Give our best regards to Tamura-san. Keep the faith.


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