“Know Before You Go”: Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Members’ Art Talk
7:00pm Start of Program
8:15pm End of Program
Free admission for ASHK Members. Limited vacancy, first-come; first-served only.
“Madama Butterfly”, conceived during the heart of Japonisme, occupies a special place in East-West cultural fusion. It is one of the very few Western operas with an Asian protagonist and to include Asian melodies. But it’s hard to deny that the opera is an exercise in orientalism: Asia seen through Western eyes. It is less clear, however, whether this is the ethnocentrism of which the opera is sometimes accused of a dramatic device deliberately deployed by the composer.
In collaboration with Opera Hong Kong, this talk explores the history and context of the opera as well the mystery of Cio-Cio San: is she a naive, delicate creature “off a Japanese screen”, as the American naval officer Pinkerton describes her, deceived and broken like the butterflies she worries Westerners stick with a pin? Or might she instead be the only one in the story with any spine, a young woman who knowingly breaks with tradition fully aware of the possible consequences?
“Madama Butterfly” was unusually set in what was, for the first audiences, the “present day”: in addition to the beautiful music and heart-wrenching story, “Madama Butterfly” is also a commentary on imperialism and East-West relations.
Opera Hong Kong and Solvene National Theatre Maribor will present this magnificent production of “Madama Butterfly” at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre on October 6 – 10, 2021. The pre-performance talk, which is presented by local opera commentator Peter Gordon and Italian composer and musicologist Marco Iannelli, will impart you with all the needed information and details to enjoy the opera.
One lucky attendee will get a chance to walk away with a pair of tickets (worth HK$1,440 in total) to watch “Madama Butterfly” on October 7, 2021.
Peter Gordon is editor of the Asian Review of Books. He has been delivering regular opera talks for the Dante Alighieri Society, Opera Hong Kong and other institutions for about 10 years, as well as translating subtitles and writing programme notes for local opera companies, and writes on opera for the local and regional press. He has been awarded the “Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia” by the Italian Government for his work on Italian culture.
Marco Iannelli is an award-winning Italian composer, musicologist and educator living in Hong Kong. He has worked with Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence), the Opera Berlioz (Montpellier), Deutsche Oper (Berlin) and is the author of “The Cassandra Case” about Italian composer Vittorio Gnecchi. He has recently been music director for recent chamber opera productions in Hong Kong.
For more enquiries, please contact 2103 9503
or email email@example.com
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/hong-kong/events/know-you-go-giacomo-puccinis-madama-butterfly Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty