“INSPIRATION is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” – Giacomo Puccini
This famous opera which was composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1904 (and remained his personal favourite throughout the remainder of his life) is based on a short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long. In brief it’s about a pleasure seeking American naval officer based in Nagasaki, Japan who leases a house and weds a young geisha. He is only briefly enchanted with her (his “Butterfly” – oh you know what some men are like; they profess their love only to lose interest when they want to move on to the next) while she in turn, gives herself wholly to the marriage. He abandons her and then returns to claim their child. Butterfly is devastated and dishonoured and makes an ultimate sacrifice to honour her family.
Having spent some time in Kyoto when I lived in Japan, I was fascinated by the beauty and elegance of the mysterious geisha. I followed them around but never quite knew where they were going. I wanted to learn their secret but maybe it was best not knowing. For me, at the time it was a different world and an escape from the norm. They had a reserved, otherworldliness unlike other women which was refreshingly appealing. They gave the illusion of being faithful and trustworthy. I loved reading Memoirs of a Geisha (surprisingly it was written by a man; Arthur Golden).
“Why, in the Peking Opera, are women’s roles played by men?…Because only a man knows how a woman is supposed to act.” – David Henry Hwang (Tony-award winning creator of the beloved play M. Butterfly).
I’m so looking forward to seeing this!