Multimedia Collection

Madama Butterfly

145 min
M1500 .M33 2005 DVD

Opera in 2 acts. Music by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica.

The pathos of this heart-rending story about a sweet-natured Japanese girl and the caddish American naval lieutenant who marries then deserts her has seldom been conveyed with such emotional directness. In his sumptuous filming of Puccini's opera, director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle uses an array of cinematic effects (including a memorable dream sequence) to evoke the protagonists' irreconcilably separate lives and worlds. As Butterfly, Mirella Freni is unbearably moving in one of the finest performances of her career, while Plácido Domingo makes Lt. Pinkerton a more sympathetic figure than usual.

Mirella Freni (Cic-Cio-San (Butterfly)) ; Plácido Domingo (B. F. Pinkterton) ; Christa Ludwig (Suzuki) ; Robert Kerns (Sharpless) ; Michel Sénéchal (Goro) ; Marius Rintzler (Il bonzo) ; Elke Schary (Kate Pinkerton) ; supporting soloists ; Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor ; Wiener Philharmoniker ; Herbert von Karajan, conductor.

Filmed Nov. and Dec. 1974 at Union Film, Berlin; sound recorded Jan. and Sept. 1974, Sofiensaal, Vienna.

Sung in Italian, with subtitles in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese.

Distributed by Universal Classics (

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