Inspiration from “Madama Butterfly”

Un Bel Di

I listen to opera in my studio and it is my painting music. Here are two paintings that are inspired from Cio-Cio San’s aria “Un Bel Di Vedremo” from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” I’ve taken the imagery from Pinkerton’s parting words to her.

“O Butterfly
My tiny little child-wife,
I’ll return with the roses,
The warm and sunny season
When the red-breasted robins
Are busy nesting.”

Aria

Aria

Cio-Cio San demonstrates her love and faith in his return in the famous aria “Un Bel Di (One Fine Day).”

One fine day we’ll notice
A thread of smoke arising on the sea In
the far horizon,
And then the ship appearing;
Then the trim white vessel
Glides into the harbour, thunders forth her cannon.
See you? Now he is coming!
I do not go to meet him. Not I! I stay upon
the brow of the hillock, And wait there… and wait for
a long time, But never weary
of the long waiting.
From out the crowded city There is coming
a man, a little speck in
the distance, climbing the hillock.
Can you guess who it is?
And when he’s reached the summit,
Can you guess what he’ll say?
He will call: “Butterfly” from the distance.
I, without answ’ring, Hold myself
quietly conceal’d,
A bit to teaze him and a bit so as not to die
At our first meeting; and then, a little troubled
He will call, he will call:
“Dear baby wife of mine,
Dear little orange blossom!”
The names he used to call me when he came here.
[to Suzuki]
This will all come to pass as I tell you.
Banish your idle fears, For he will return
I know it.