In this Japanese tragedy, as Giacomo Puccini defined the genre of his opera, the West meets the East. American Lieutenant Pinkerton became engaged to a geisha, but soon had to sail away from Japan, where he later returned with his American wife: foreign marriages were not valid in the United States.
Puccini chose this topic not by chance: Europe was experiencing another wave of fascination with the East at that time. In the 1850s, Japan opened its borders after two centuries of isolation. Japanese prints and drawings were demonstrated at the World Exhibitions in Paris and London — Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh were imitating them; open-cut women's dresses resembling kimonos came into fashion; interiors were filled with paper lanterns, vases and screens in the Japanese style. This was how Madama Butterfly appeared: it combined Italian sensuality and Eastern modesty, European opera magnitude and oriental longing for a chamber form.
The genre of the Ural Opera performance can be defined as expectation-opera: external action is devoid of fuss, attention is focused on internal action – waiting for Pinkerton to return – and together with the characters of the opera, the audience gazes intently and listens to what is happening, becoming totally immersed in the action on stage. The director Alexey Stepanyuk, following the genre as defined by the author, with all the scrupulousness and psychological depth creates a tragedy on the stage — a global tragedy of the end of traditional Japanese culture and a personal one — of the naive and selfless Cio-Cio-san.