Giacomo Puccini

Japanese tragedy in three acts
Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
World premiere: 17 February 1904, Regio Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Polish premiere: 3 December 1908m Teatr Wielki, Warsaw
Premiere of this production: 29 May 1999
In the original Italian with Polish surtitles 

He is rich, handsome, and hungry for new erotic conquests; she is beautiful, poor, trusting, and madly in love. They are the protagonists of a story as old as the world, its schematic structure verging on banality. However, it can be sublimated into an excellent opera plot, and many composers before Puccini jumped at the opportunity. The Italian composer tossed the story into a Japanese context, making references to traditional music of the Land of Cherry Blossoms, only to completely abandon the ‘made in Japan’ poetics elsewhere. Mariusz Treliński did much the same in his (large stage) opera debut, which could actually explain the great mystery of its spectacular success in Poland, the United States, Russia, Israel, Italy, Spain and Oman. Giving up realistic details but not that specific Japanese atmosphere, the director – supported by Boris Kudlička’s phenomenal stage design – very subtly invoked the convention of kabuki but also Robert Wilson’s theatre, and his own experience with film. This cultural mélange of different arts and inspirations has resulted in a show of historical importance that in a way splits the contemporary history of Polish opera productions into what came before and what came after the premiere of Madame Butterfly by Treliński and Kudlička.



Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki  Polish National Opera


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