Puccini: Madama Butterfly ****
Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 7th December 2016
For years I’ve wondered why Cio-Cio San refers to her bridegroom as F.B. Pinkerton when the Imperial Commissioner names him as Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in the wedding ceremony. Was she alphabetically challenged? But it turns out that in the original version of Madama Butterfly, premiered at La Scala in 1904, the American Lieutenant went by the unlikely name of Sir Francis Blummy Pinkerton. Who knew? That world première comes under the category of first night fiascos, ambushed by a well-prepared audience, possibly led either by rivals of Giulio Ricordi, Puccini’s publisher, or by a claque of Mascagni supporters.
Read the full review on Bachtrack.