By Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)
Best referred to as the tale from the 1904 Puccini opera, the compelling smooth delusion of Madame Butterfly has been learn, watched, and re-interpreted for over a century, from Pierre Loti's 1887 novel Madame Chrysanthème to A.R. Gurney's 1999 play Far East. This attention-grabbing collaborative quantity examines the Madame Butterfly narrative in a wide selection of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, old, and political - and in numerous media - opera, drama, movie, and prose narratives - and comprises contributions from a variety of educational disciplines, similar to Asian reports, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and picture Studies.
From its unique colonial beginnings, the Butterfly tale has been grew to become approximately and inverted lately to shed gentle again at the nature of the connection among East and West, closing renowned in its unique model in addition to in retellings reminiscent of David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's display model. The mixed views that outcome from this collaboration offer new and demanding insights into the strong, resonant fable of a painful come upon among East and West.
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Additional info for A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly
As virtually all commentators have observed, Puccini constructs Lieutenant Pinkerton as an unambiguous lout. Moreover, the other characters tell him he is a lout, and he eventually confesses his loutishness himself. He resorts to the most shameless expressions of American patriotism and even wraps himself in ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to legitimate his imperialist exploitation of the Japanese in general and Cio-CioSan in particular. If anything, we might urge our imaginary postcolonial artist to develop a more nuanced personality for Pinkerton so that her opera doesn’t come across as mere agit-prop, as the vengeful bashing of both men and the West.
To be fair, Atlas does address some of the ideological concerns raised by the piece, but he also tries to salvage the piece by locating an enlightened attitude in its structural apparatus. See also Powils-Okano. 23 Ma, The Modern Madame Butterfly and Kondo, ‘M. 2 (1993): 91–104. A useful summary of the controversy appeared in Denise Hamilton, ‘Zorn’s “Garden” Sprouts Discontent,’ Los Angeles Times, Calendar section, 15 August 1994: 9. 25 Film historian Nick Browne argues along similar lines in his remarkable study of the spate of silent films based on the story of ‘Madame Butterfly,’ which gained cultural prestige through their connections to the opera.
For instance, where she claims to see him, she strains upward to G natural – thereby transcending the reality of her implied key. This grasping at transcendence reaches its culmination, however, in her recapitulation, her most heroic sequence. Cio-Cio-San explains to Suzuki how she will hide from Pinkerton, thus fulfilling his expectations of her childish behaviour, but also so as to conceal the surge of passion she will experience – a surge so powerful that it threatens to kill her. Suddenly, with the unanticipated word ‘morire,’ she seizes the G-flat with which she started her aria, but now with the entire orchestra thundering in unison with her.
A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly by Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)