Madama (Madame) Butterfly 
This is an opera by Giacomo Puccini, with a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on a short story Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long, which, in turn, was inspired by Pierre Loti’s novel Madame Chrysanthème . In this story, Lieutenant Pinkerton of the US Navy stationed in Nagasaki marries a fifteen-year old Japanese girl from a once rich, but now impoverished family. Pinkerton is restless, fickle and is simply looking forward to romancing a pretty girl, while Cio-Cio-San (his new wife (Madame Butterfly)) seems to have taken her vows with the same zeal and devotion one takes holy orders. Pinkerton disappears shortly after the wedding, promising to return. But, will he? When the Lieutenant finally decides to return, the situation is far more complicating that either he or Madame Butterfly could imagine. First premiered in Milan in 1905, Madama Butterfly is an opera of great emotional depth and psychological insight. The beautiful music with lots of drama and touches of light charm often accentuates hope born, dashed and then re-born as Madame Butterfly tries to come to terms with her situation throughout the story, clinging desperately to her unreachable western ideal.
Some of the main themes of the opera are the collision of two cultures (Japan & America, East & West), including miscommunication, as well as the position of a poor Japanese woman vis-a-vis a wealthy male foreigner in Japanese society at the turn of the twentieth century. In Madama Butterfly, one person’s serious commitment/complete faithfulness clashes with another person’s frivolousness and passing whimsy. The drama lies in a curious place because, historically, it is foreigners in Japan who fared or should fare badly and be “worse off” because they are deemed “outsiders”. However, a certain political and social situation in Madama Butterfly means that a native Japanese woman has to suffer and endure immense hardship. The woman’s nationality and her affinity with her people do not save her. On the contrary, Cio-Cio-San seemingly forsakes her “national identity” and religion to be with the man she loves. At the start of her marriage ceremony, she is even forced to endure spiteful tongues and jealousy on the part of her fellow country girls. And, this counter-intuitive reversal of roles is not the only one in the story. Being only fifteen and a geisha, it is Cio-Cio-San who should display emotional instability and aimlessness. However, despite her naivety, she is serious, decisive, and is selflessly devoted to her man, whereas, in turn, the mature and decorated Lieutenant displays the behaviour of a boy who first got his new toy and then forgets about it. The above themes lead to the themes of isolation and loneliness, which also become central to the drama.
The opera has many magnificent musical pieces, for example, in the second act, there is a beautiful aria sung by Madame Butterfly “Un bel dì, vedremo” (“One Fine Day We’ll See”). This area encompasses everything, boundless hope, immense love and maybe hidden fears about her absent love. Puccini also used some Japanese melodies in his opera and one can sense some Japanese musical undercurrents.
Madama Butterfly is a beautiful opera and a moving tale of a woman engulfed so completely in her dream of happiness that she refuses to face or suspect a cruel reality.
To watch opera Madama Butterfly, follow this link, and there is also a related opera film Madama Butterfly (link). Other similar stories: Miss Saigon  is a Broadway musical that was inspired by the opera Madama Butterfly. In this story, a Vietnamese woman gets abandoned by her American lover against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The Red Poppy  is a Soviet ballet about a Chinese girl who falls in love with a Russian captain and tries to protect him from her brutal and jealous fiancé. Ōgai Mori’s The Dancing Girl  is a yet another similar short story, but which reverses the situation of Madama Butterfly. In The Dancing Girl, a Japanese man, Toyotaro Ota, leaves behind a German dancing girl, Elise, choosing his career instead.