Friday, October 5, 2012

MADAMA BUTTERFLY - For Further Study (and Enjoyment!) - Books

There are many, many studies of Puccini's life and work and of BUTTERFLY itself . BLO Artistic Advisor John Conklin recommends a few to start off with...

Biography

by Mary Jane Phillips-Malz
Northwestern University Press Boston 2002

A personal, opinionated, persuasive, illuminating view of Puccini (by the author of the magisterial biography VERDI) Based on previously unexamined correspondence and interviews, it presents Puccini in the intriguing context of his operatically conceived life - his public triumphs (and failures) and his private failures (and triumphs)

GIACOMO PUCCINI
by Conrad Wilson
Phaidon Press London 1997 (20th Century Composers Series)

Well written and organized overview of both Puccini's controversial and often difficult personality and his still rather controversial place in the ranks of the very greatest opera composers. With many very interesting illustrations

by William Berger
Vintage Books 2005

A very frustrating book - often appalingly glib and superficial, often surprising insightful and thought provoking . Take your pick.... maybe browsing through it calmly is the way to go? Or... throwing it across the room in a fit of justified annoyance.

Studies of the operas:

by Charles Osborne
Da Capo Press 1982

by William Ashbrook
Cornell University Press 1968

Both books present detailed essays and a broad survey of all of Puccini's operas (production history, musical analysis, etc) with good chapters on BUTTERFLY

Julian Budden
Oxford University Press 2002

The best. In -depth scholarship, narrative pace , brilliant analytical insight, fascinating research ....but only to be expected from the author of the indispensable THE OPERAS OF VERDI

On BUTTERFLY
English National Opera Guides
editor: Nichols John
Riverrun Press NY 1984

Part of the excellent series from the ENO. Historical background and context , japonisme, a study of the extensive "tribulations" that the score went through, the text of the John Luther Long short story (fascinating reading), a musical thematic guide, the libretto in Italian and English....much to savor and ponder

by Brian Burke-Gaffney
Eastbridge Books Norwalk Ct 2004

If you have time for only one BUTTERFLY read....I'd make it this A compelling study of the opera, its basis in history , the cultural conflicts of East and West, the "legend" of the "real" Butterfly, the role of Nagasaki itself in our Western culture, Japanese performers in the role of Cio-Cio San... etc...all in fascinating detail. Many rarely reproduced photographs.



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