Madame Butterfly

These resources share information about Austin Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly.

Madame Butterfly – In a Nutshell
A brief summary of the basic facts about the opera Madame Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini, composer
A one page biography and photo of Giacomo Puccini.
Opera 101 – All About Puccini
Madame Butterfly Cast and Story Synopsis
A cast list and synopsis for Austin Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly
ACTIVITY: Opera Timeline – Madame Butterfly
This activity takes you through a brief history of opera, including important dates in the life of Giacomo Puccini.
Opera 101 – Madame Butterfly 
Introduction to Madame Butterfly
Yunah Lee: Austin Opera’s Cio-Cio San

MUSICAL EXCERPTS from Madame Butterfly
Yunah Lee singing “Un bel di, vedremo”
Cio-Cio-San’s big Act II solo, “Un bel dì,” is the most famous aria in Madame Butterfly (and one of the best known in the entire operatic repertoire). Witchita Grand Opera, 2014(4:32)
Youtube video

Madame Butterfly’s “Humming Chorus”
Follow the musical score to the “Humming Chorus” as you listen to the music. Singers – try out your sightreading skills and sing along! (2:58)
Youtube video

ACT 1: Dovunque al mondo … Amore o grillo
(Throughout the world … Love or fancy)
Youtube video

ACT 1: Love:Duet: Viene la sera … Bimba dagli occhi pieni di malia
(Night is falling … Little one with your bewitching eyes)
Youtube video

ACT 2: Part 1, “Un bel di, vedremo”
(One fine day we’ll see)
Recording of legendary soprano Maria Callas
Youtube video

“Un bel di, vedremo”: Historic Recording from 1912
The world première of Madame Butterfly took place at La Scala, Milan, on February 17, 1904.
Youtube video

ACT 2: “Mio marito m’ha promesso”
(My husband made me a promise)
Youtube video

More “Humming Chorus”
A beautiful video accompanies this version of the “Humming Chorus” from Madame Butterfly, performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.
As the off-stage chorus hums a wordless, melancholy tune, Butterfly, her child and Suzuki begin the long wait for Pinkerton to come. Night falls. Suzuki and the baby are soon asleep, but Butterfly keeps her vigil. Butterfly continues to wait , as the Humming Chorus ends and morning light appears.(3:07)
Youtube video

STUDY GUIDES – Lesson Plans and Activities
Metropolitan Opera
Opera America resources 

Opera Insights Lecture (from Portland Opera), Part 1
Portland Opera Historian and lecturer Robert Kingston preview’s Madame Butterfly for the Portland Opera.
Youtube video

Opera Insights Lecture (from Portland Opera), Part 2
Opera Historian and lecturer Robert Kingston preview’s Madame Butterfly for the Portland Opera.
Youtube video

Opera Talk! video
Join Nick Reveles of San Diego OperaTalk! for a discussion of Madame Butterfly, including how Puccini was inspired to create the opera, its disastrous world première, discussions of Japanese society and the music of the opera, along with an overview of recordings.
Youtube video

Youtube video

Interview: Madame Butterfly – The Story
Watch the BBC Four interview, introduced by Antonio Pappano, on why Madame Butterfly is so appealing. Featuring soprano and stage director Renata Scotto, The Royal Opera. (3:22)
Youtube video

Connect to Japanese culture and history through the art of origami and the story of Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes.

LESSON: Origami Cranes
The student will:
learn about the Japanese art form of origami.
learn to fold a traditional paper crane.
learn that the crane is an international symbol for peace.

HOW-TO Video for making PAPER CRANES
Art Specialist Stephanie Perry takes you through the process of making a traditional origami paper crane.
Youtube video

LESSON: World At Peace
Explore ideas of Children’s Rights in the world and how we can all be advocates for world peace.

SADAKO Book Video
A short retelling of Sadako’s story using illustrations from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Youtube video

2000 Paper Cranes: A Memorial to Sadako
An artist’s personal project 70 hours folding 2000 cranes to create a portrait of Sadako. (3:09)
Youtube video

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Website
Features a virtual tour for adults and one for children The Kid’s Peace Station


Sadako book activities (second grade and up)

This is a GREAT page for children to learn basic facts about Japan. It includes pictures and info about:

  • Flag of Japan
  • Currency
  • National anthem
  • Language
  • Religions
  • Tokyo
  • Government

Sources for materials shared here include added references from:
* Madama Butterfly Study Guide – Pacific Opera Victoria
* Pathways for Understanding: Madama Butterfly – Metropolitan Opera Guild
* Enrichment Guide: A Thousand Cranes by Kathryn Schutz Miller