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The Sunday Opera: Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" from the San Francisco Opera

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with Lianna Haroutounian in the title role is this week’s Sunday Opera (9/24 3:00 p.m.) from the San Francisco Opera.  The libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa was based on a play by David Bilasco which in turn was based on a short story by John Luther Long.  That short story’s basis was in stories told to Long by his sister along with the French novel “Madame Chrysantheme” by Pierre Loti.  The two-act version that premiered at La Scala on February 17, 1904 was poorly received, but Puccini re-wrote it into a three-act opera and included the now-famous humming chorus along with several other changes, and when that new version premiered on May 28 of the same year, it was a major success.  In this performance, Haroutounian is joined by Vincenzo Costanzo as Pinkerton, Zanda Svede as Suzuki, Anthony Clark Evans as Sharpless, and Julius Ahn as Goro.  Yves Abel conducts.  After the opera, join Michael Kownacky for a performance of Sidney Jones’ “The Geisha” an Edwardian musical that is considered to be the first British international hit which is all but forgotten today.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.