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Madame Butterfly: Japonisme, Puccini, and the Search for the Real Cho-Cho-San Hardcover – January 1, 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A long-time opera buff, Jan Van Rij served as an E.U. diplomat in Japan, highly regarded for his intimate understanding of Japanese-European relations.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656525
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patricia VINE VOICE on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Madama Butterfly has always been one of my favorite operas so when I saw this book I was intrigued. And it is full of intrigue and investigation, myth and attempts to pin point the truth. I found it quite amazing (even though it occasionally logs down in minutia). Was this whole story based on a real "Butterfly"?. It looks like indeed it is and the story is quite amazing. The author does not discuss the music - this is about the plot line and how Puccini struggled with many different versions to come to the opera we know. If you love this opera, I think you will enjoy all the insights you will find in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did the major research for the book for Jan Van Rij and in the course of studying the archival original hand written reports sent from Nagasaki to the British Ambassador in Tokyo for the period 1861 to 1893, I enountered historical facts that generally aren't known. I.E. that the first time the US was involved in armed conflict in Korea wasn't in 1950, but in May, 1871. And while serving with the Marine Corps in Korea in 1952 I was actually where that conflict occurred. I wish I had known at the time so I could have explored the oral history of what had happened.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've ever seen Miss Saigon on Broadway, David Henry Hwang's postmodern play, M. Butterfly, or Puccini's original opera, Madame Butterfly, you'll love this book. This is a fascinating, thorough re-telling of the Madame Butterfly story... answering the age-old question, "Was there a real Madame Butterfly who inspired Puccini's opera?" A meticulous, nonfiction detective story of a book, the author goes back to Puccini's earliest historical and cultural sources, debunking old myths and identifying earlier incarnations of the story, and discovers the tragic, real-life love story behind the opera. A great read for any opera buff or anyone who's interested in Japanese culture! Great photos, too. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I am frankly surprised at the author's impressive yet concise scholarship, in spite of occasional flaws and the fact he does not speak Japanese. I really wish there was a series of books like these one, on the most beloved operas and their historical backgrounds.
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