|Saturday||May 21, 2022||7:00 PM|
|Tuesday||May 24, 2022||7:30 PM|
|Friday||May 27, 2022||7:30 PM|
|Saturday||May 28, 2022||7:00 PM (*OB)|
|Monday||May 30, 2022||7:30 PM|
*OB: Opera Berri
|Cio-Cio San||Maria Agresta*|
|Cio-Cio San BERRI||Carmen Solís|
|Pinkerton BERRI||Javier Tomé|
|Sharpless||Damián del Castillo|
|Kate Pinkerton||Marta Ubieta|
|Yamadori & commissar||Jose Manuel Díaz|
|Uncle Bonzo||Fernando Latorre|
|Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa|
|Coro de Ópera de Bilbao||Director Boris Dujin|
|Music Director||Henrik Nánási*|
|Scene Director||Stefano Monti|
|Coproduction||Teatro Comunale di Modena / Teatro Municipale di Piacenza|
|*Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera|
Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a US Navy officer, inspects a house on a hill close to Nagasaki overlooking the harbour. He is going to lease it from Goro, a helpful matchmaker. The house comes with three servants and a geisha wife called Cio-Cio San, who is known as Butterfly. The lease, according to Japanese custom, runs for 999 years, subject to monthly renewal. The American consul, Sharpless, arrives breathless from climbing the hill. Pinkerton describes his philosophy of the fearless Yankee roaming the world in search of experience and pleasures. He is not sure whether his feelings for the young Japanese girl are love or a mere whim, but he intends to go through with the marriage ceremony. Sharpless warns him that the girl may have a different view of the marriage, but Pinkerton brushes off such concerns and tells him that someday he will take a real American wife. He offers the consul whiskey and proposes a toast.
Butterfly arrives with her friends for the ceremony. In casual conversation after the formal introduction, the girl admits that she is only fifteen and explains that her family was once important but then lost their prominent position, due to which she has no option but to earn her living as a geisha. Her relatives arrive and chatter about such an unequal marriage. Cio-Cio San shows Pinkerton her meagre possessions and confesses that she has been to the Christian mission and intends to embrace her husband’s religion. The Imperial Commissioner reads the marriage agreement and the relatives congratulate the couple. Suddenly, a threatening voice is heard from afar: it is the Bonze, Butterfly’s uncle, a priest. He curses the girl for having been to the mission and rejecting her ancestral religion. Pinkerton orders everyone to leave and tries to console Butterfly with sweet words. Suzuki helps her into her wedding kimono before the couple meet in the garden, where they get carried away by passion.
When Act II starts, three years have passed and Cio-Cio San is waiting for her husband to return home. Suzuki prays to the gods for help, but Butterfly berates her for believing in Japanese gods rather than in Pinkerton’s promise to return one day. Sharpless appears with a letter from Pinkerton, but before he can read it to Butterfly, Goro arrives with the young girl’s latest suitor, the wealthy Prince Yamadori. Butterfly politely serves tea to the guests but insists that she is not available for marriage: her American husband has not deserted her and has promised that he would return one day. She asks Goro and Yamadori to leave. Sharpless attempts to read Pinkerton’s letter and suggests that perhaps Butterfly should reconsider Yamadori’s offer. In response, she presents the son she has had with Pinkerton to the consul. She says that his name is “Sorrow”, but when his father returns, he will be called “Joy”. Sharpless is too upset to continue reading the contents of the letter. He leaves, promising to tell Pinkerton about the child. A cannon shot in the harbour announces the arrival of a ship. Butterfly and Suzuki read its name from the terrace: it is Pinkerton’s. Overjoyed, Butterfly joins Suzuki in decorating the house with flowers. Night falls and Butterfly, Suzuki and the child settle into a vigil watching over the harbour.
Dawn breaks and Suzuki insists that Butterfly get some sleep. Butterfly carries the child into the house. Sharpless appears with Pinkerton and Kate, Pinkerton’s new wife. Suzuki realises who the American woman is and agrees to help break the news to Butterfly. Pinkerton is overcome with guilt and leaves to remember the days spent in the house. Cio-Cio San rushes in, hoping to find Pinkerton, but sees Kate instead. Grasping the situation, she agrees to give her son up, but insists that it must be Pinkerton who returns for him. After dismissing everyone, Butterfly takes out the dagger with which her father had committed suicide, as she prefers to die with honour rather than live in shame. She stops momentarily when the child comes in unexpectedly, but Butterfly takes him to the garden and goes behind a curtain. When Pinkerton arrives, calling out for her, the young woman stabs herself.