By Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)
Best referred to as the tale from the 1904 Puccini opera, the compelling smooth fantasy of Madame Butterfly has been learn, watched, and re-interpreted for over a century, from Pierre Loti's 1887 novel Madame Chrysanthème to A.R. Gurney's 1999 play Far East. This interesting collaborative quantity examines the Madame Butterfly narrative in a wide selection of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, ancient, and political - and in quite a few media - opera, drama, movie, and prose narratives - and comprises contributions from a variety of educational disciplines, reminiscent of Asian experiences, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and movie Studies.
From its unique colonial beginnings, the Butterfly tale has been became approximately and inverted lately to shed gentle again at the nature of the connection among East and West, ultimate renowned in its unique model in addition to in retellings reminiscent of David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's reveal edition. The mixed views that end result from this collaboration supply new and not easy insights into the robust, resonant fable of a painful come upon among East and West.
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Extra info for A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly
It is this music that produces the goose bumps, sometimes even in the most unwilling of listeners. Cio-Cio-San starts high in her register, accompanied primarily by solo violin, harp, and clarinet, which double her melody rather than offering the dialectical support a bass line would grant. Her melody contains hints of the pentatonic scale that aligns her with japonaiserie; yet those elements had so permeated the artistic vocabulary of art nouveau and Impressionism that they can be found in the arias of Puccini’s Parisian characters as well.
Strange to tell, for all the talk of the diminutive, quaint, and childlike Japanese people, Japan had just emerged as a major player on the world stage of military expansionism. And although the United States was in the process of coming out as an imperialist power at this same moment, it – and the rest of the West – needed assurances of its innate superiority. 25 To be sure, accusations of ‘fascism’ circulate rather widely in musicology today. They are hurled, however, not at pieces of music, but rather at those who would interrogate meanings.
I would like to move away temporarily from the emphasis on the tragedy and victimization of Butterfly, and to start by pointing out that, from a narrative point of view, no attention has been given to the contradiction between Butterfly’s behaviour in the story and her alleged social position as a geisha before the beginning of the plot, and as a ‘temporary wife’ in her relationship with Pinkerton. 2 An interrogation of this contradiction and of the verisimilitude of Butterfly’s dramatic behaviour would have normally diminished the credibility of the story, yet despite such flaws, critics and audiences alike are still swept away by the ominous tragedy that, like any myth, seems beyond the need for questioning.
A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly by Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)