NPO Opera del Popolo


Our Opera
return

2004 Regular Opera Performance "Madama Butterfly / revised edition"
 

What were the errors of the original?

The revised edition of Puccini's [Madama Butterfly]

General artistic director of NPO Opera del Popolo/Minnnano Opera (Revision, Partial translation
/Arrangement, Regie)-- Opera singer Takao OKAMURA

The famous opera [Madama Butterfly]was performed for the first time at Teatro La Scala in 1904, introducing Japan to the world as the best work which scene was laid in Japan(Nagasaki) in the second half of Meiji era.
But quite unfortunately, especially for us Japanese, some misunderstandings and misconceptions of Japan, which will be describedAexist in the original.
Puccini and his librettists tried hard to acquire exact information on Japan. But obviously that was almost impossible for them as the sources for information on Japan that appeared in the world at that time were quite limited.
Those errors were finally corrected by the Revised [Ciocio san] performed by the NPO Opera del Popolo in 2003 in Tokyo, most probably for the first time in the world, 100 years after from the first perfomance. The conflict of Japanese and occiedental culture was the sub-concept of this performances in 2003. (Puccini himself revised this opera 3 times.--Editions: Brescia, London, and Paris--. And we used the Edition Paris as it is most popular nowadays.)
This revision is in Japanese language for the performances in Japan, for the Japanese audience. But we look forward to performing abroad correcting the errors in the original Italian language, and try to show the authentic Nagasaki in the Meiji era and how Japanese people contacted with foreigners at that periodAthrough the drama of Ciocio san, maintaining the splendor of this masterpiece.
In addition: Some parts which were originally in Italian to be spoken by Japanese were translated into Japanese for the Japanese audience. And some Japanese (spoken)dialogs which are not in the original, were inserted in the part of Italian by the singers on the stage whose characters speak Japanese.

---Autumn 2003, in Tokyo

=======================================================

(VS=Vocal score of the revised [Ciocio san] performances of the NPO Opera del Popol-2003/4)

Mistakes of Japanese name and custom
1st Act
1) Original: Suzuki sings to Pinkerton="Sorride Vostro Onore? Il riso e' frutto e fiore. Disse il savio Ocunama: dei crucci la trama smaglia il sorriso."--VS 14 page.
Note: The Wise Ocunama did not and does not exist in Japan. So, Ocunama is omitted. As "riso" means laugh and also rice in Italian==Japanese feed on rice==, Ocunama must have said this sentence. And so the sentence "Il riso e' frutto e fiore" is also omitted. Suzuki sings about the general function of smile.
Revision: [Smile, your honor? Smile is the flower of human life and avoid the troubles and the conspiracies.]

2)Original: Butterfly sees the groupe of three gentlemen and finds Pinkerton. Closing her umbrella she indicates him to the girlfriends singing "F.B. Pinkerton. Giu" and falls on her knees. The girlfriends close their umbrellas and sing "Giu". --VS59 page.
Note:With the predominance of men over women at that time, and the adoration of Western countries which still lasts now in Japan, it is quite natural that Butterfly and her girl friends pay their respects to the US naval sailor. But it is too much to fall on their knees., and so it is omitted together with the singing of "Giu--down". Butterfly and her girlfriends only bow down.
Revision: Butterfly: "B. F. Pinkerton san". the girl friends: "Hajimemashite=How do you do"
(F and B are reversed reversed following the French style reading of the name in the paris edeiton, and are replaced in the original positions, as the imperial commissar announces at the wedding ceremony "Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton" rightly in English.

3)Original: Butterfly, coming back, goes to sit on the terrace near Pinkerton and takes out some statuettes of the Buddha from her sleeves, singing:"Gli Ottoke" --VS 97 page.
Note: The word "Ottoke" does not exist in Japan. It must be "Mihotoke" or "Hotoke sama". Anyhow, it is quite unlikely that a bride would show her female belongings to her groom, taking them out from her sleeves, even if the groom is a foreigner. Butterfly converted from Buddhism to Christianity the night before with her baptism at the church. Still it is very unnatural for her, as a young daughter of a good family, to make light of the Buddha's statuettes.
Revision: Suzuki brings out a statuette of the Buddha on a table, and Butterfly shows it to Pinkerton singing "Hotoke sama".

4)Original: The official sings out at the marriage ceremomy "--ed alla damigella Butterfly del quartiere d'Omara Nagasaki,--" --VS 104 page.
Note: It must be Omura instead of Omara.
Revision:[--and nonage Ciocio san from Omura of Nagasaki prefecture--]

5)Original: The relatives and the girlfriends of Butterfly cerebrate the marriage of Butterfly and Pinkerton singing "O Kami! O Kami!".--VS 110 page
Note: Kami means God in Japanese. It is normal custom in western countries to celebrate the marriage worshipping only one God, and not in pantheistic Japan.
Revision: [How happy! How happy!=Medetaya! Medetaya!]

6)Original: The uncle of Butterfly, Bonzo taunts her about her conversion singing "Ciocio san!, Ciocio san!".--VS 112 page.
Note: The word "san" is used honorifically in Japan. The uncle never taunts his niece calling her with "san"
Revision: [Ciocio yo-! Ciocio yo-!]

7)Original: Uncle Bonzo curses Butterfly singing "Kami sarundasico!" --VS 117 page.
Note: "Kami sarundasico" has no meaning in Japanese. If it is a mispronouciation of "Sarudahiko no Kami", Sarudahiko is one of the deities of Shintoism (travelers' guardian deity) and should not be used by Bonzo, a priest of Buddhism.
Revision: [Judgement on you!=Tenbatsuyo oriyo!]

2nd Act
8)Original: Goro sings to Butterfly and Sharpless indicating Yamadori "Ville, servi, oro, ad Omara un plazzo principesco". --VS 214 page.
Note:The same error of 3).
Revision: [Near by he has a huge palace also.=Chikakuniwa ookina gotenmo omochidesu.]

9)Original: Butterfly sings "Che tua madre dovra prenderti in braccio, ed alla pioggia e al vento andar per la citta' a guadagnarti il pane e il vestimento. Ed alle impietosite genti, la man tremante stendera' ! gridando: Udite, udite la triste mia canzon. A un'infelice madre la carita', muoveteVi a pieta'! E Butterfly, orribile destino, danzera' per te! E come fece gia' . La Ghesha cantera'! ...". --VS 243 page.
Note: Ghesha is not a dishonorable profession as mentioned here. They do not dance and sing on the street in city like beggars.
Revision: [Ciocio san sings "Your mother goes to Ozashiki=Japanese-style room where Ghesha
entertain her customers=even if it rains or windy, to avoid hunger and cold, smiling even to the most disgusting, and even to the most drunken customer, doing services of any kind, even if forced to do, and sing and dance for you...==]

Confusion of Shintoism and Buddhism
==The government of Meiji reformed the former mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism and separated those two religions in Japan.==
[Other than those undermentioned, 6)also belongs to the same confusion]
.
1st Act
10)Original: Suzuki chants a prayer to the Buddha."E Izaghi ed Izanami Sarundasico e Kami,--" --VS 127 page.
Note: Izaghi must be Izanaghi, and Sarundasico must be Sarudahiko. But this is a prayer of Shintoism! Estimating that Suzuki belongs to the leading Buddhism persuasion in Nagasaki, Nichiren-shu, her chant is the Nichiren-shu as below.
Revision:"Nammyo horengekkyo"

2nd Act
11)Original: Suzuki chants a prayer to Buddha."E Izaghi ed Izanami Sarundasico e Kami*1),-- Oh la mia testa! --[suona la campanella*2) per richiamare l'attenzione degli Dei]--E tu Tensjodai*3)fate che Butterfly non pianga piu." --VS 169 page.
Note: *1)-The same confusion. *2)-La campanella must be Rin, the instrument of the Buddhism prayer. *3)-Tensjodai is a word unknown word. It could be from "Amaterasu Ohmikami", which pronounciation resembles the phonetic sound of Kanji(Chinese character) of this deity of Shintoism.
Revision:(Suzuki)"Nammyo horengekkyo, for pity's sake--knocking the rin--please mighty Buddha, do not let Butterfly cry"=" Nammyo horengekkyo, kawaisoni-- knocking the rin--doka, mihotoke sama, Ciocio san o nakasenaide..."

=======================================================

New Japanese Musical Instruments
It is our honor and pleasure to be able to use the following new musical instruments which Maestro Akira NAITO, the musical director of the Tokyo New City Orchestra, newly made and selected after his careful investigation of Japanese religious sound-instruments to achive the effects which Puccini intended.


‚`)Original:Campanelli Giapponesi.
Puccini's intention: Right before the marriage of Butterfly the harmonized sound of a Japanese bells rings.--VS 102 page 3rd line 4th bar-103 page 1st line 3rd bar, 2nd line 2nd/3rd bar, 4th line 3rd bar-104 page 1st line 1st bar, 105 page 2nd line 3rd-5th bar.
New Musical Instrument: 4 "Furin"(Japanese wind bell) tuned in 4 different tones.

B)Original:(At the scene--Uncle Bonzo taunts his niece Butterfly)Tam Tam Grave (interno)--VS112 page 1st line 3rd/5th bar.
Puccini's intention:The sound which express uncle Bonzo who is coming to taunt Butterfly is the bell of a Japanese temple she hears from far beyond strongly among the soft sounds of other instruments. The same bell sounds also at the scene of Butterfly's suicide-- VS361 page 4th line 3rd bar 2nd tact.
New Musical Instrument:The sound of huge hunging bell of Japanese temple(recorded). .

C)Original:Tam Tam Giapponese.
Puccini's intention: The strong sound of "Kin" recalls Japan among the soft sounds of other western instruments , in the beautiful love duet at the end of the act 1.-- VS158 page 1st line 2nd bar 1st tact.2nd line 2nd bar 1st tact,159 page 1st line 2nd bar 1st tact,2nd line 2nd bar 1st tact.And the confrontation of Christianity against Buddhist is resolved finally in the mind of Butterfly by the parallel sounds of the chime of the Church and the sound of Temple --"Kin"--VS305 page 1st line 1st-4th bar.
New Musical Instrument:The representative bell of the Buddhism "Kin" tempered dodecaphonically.

‚c)Original:(The instrument of Buddhism which Suzuki rings in her prayer.) Campanella--VS 168 page 4th line, 2nd/3rd bar, 169 page 3rd line 2nd/3rd tact.
Puccini's intention: Like all the Buddhists do, Suzuki rings a small bel in her prayer.
New Musical Instrument:The small bell "Rin" which is on the chest of the drawer.

=======================================================

To A) Puccini assigned "Campanelli Giapponesi" in the score==Japanese bells which ring in the Japanese house, the house of Ciocio san(the Japanese style room, in this perefomance). And so, the bell must be "furin" and nothing else, as Maestro Naito convinced. But it is unnatural that "furin" rings by itself at the exact timing matches to the marriage ceremony with a major 3rd as written in the VS. "sulla scena" is assigned to this part in the orchestra score, and so, Puccini might thought that some one among; Goro, the clerk, the imperial commisar, or people on the stage, rings the special musical instrument which is able to play the western tuning for the marriage ceremony in Japan. Uncertain is this very short ceremony if it was performed either in Buddhism or in Shintoism, as there is only a rough reading of the identification of Ciocio san and Pinkerton and the validation of the marriage by the officer. Puccini must have intended the musical beginning and end of the ceremony, played by Japanese musical instruments.

To B) As the huge bell of a Japanese temple is impossible to carry in the theater, we recorded the sound and reproducted it from the back-stage. No assignment of step on this bell.

To C) Puccini assumed the existence of Japanese Tam Tam with western pitches. Otherwise he would not have written the music that is in the score. But there havs been no such instrument in Japan. That is why Maestro Naito created new "Kin" tempered dodecaphonically.

To ‚c) "Rin" also has a western pitch -A as assigned in the score. When Suzuki rings the small bell "Rin" which is on the chest of drawer, it sounds harmonizes perfectly with the sound of the orchestra. It is realistic in Japan to think the rin happened to have the step -A coincidentally.
Anyhow, Puccini wanted to apply western music to Japanese instruments.


Copyright© NPO Opera del Popolo
since 2002, All rights reserved.