Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly)

By Giacomo Puccini

ISBN: 9780714544274

132 pages

RRP: £8.00

Madama Butterfly is one of the most popular operas of all time, despite its disastrous premiere, after which it was immediately withdrawn and revised. This guide explores how and why the libretto was softened to suit the tastes of European opera-goers, and the different variants are set out, side by side. Professor Jean-Pierre Lehmann introduces the story and shows how the theme of a Japanese girl deserted by a heartless foreigner became a classic. Since John Luther Long’s novella – on which the opera was based – is included as well, it is possible to judge how successful Puccini was in catching its essence in his hauntingly beautiful score.

Contents: Images of the Orient, John-Pierre Lehmann; Tribulations of a Score, Julian Smith; Madame Butterfly, John Luther Long; Madama Butterfly: Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi lllica after the book by John Luther Long and the play by David Belasco; Madam Butterfly: English version based on that of R.H. Elkin

For a full list of Calder Opera Guides in association with English National Opera click here


  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was born in Lucca into a family of musicians and composers. His operas, which include Tosca, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the international repertory.