From Development server
1 April 2004

Japanese Composer Writes Sequel to Madama Butterfly:
Jr. Butterfly...no joke.

The Daily Yomiuri of Tokyo is reporting that noted Japaneses composer Shigeaki Saegusa has composed a sequel to Madama Butterfly entitled Jr. Butterfly. The lead character of the opera will be Butterfly's son. The three-act production will be performed on April 6, 8 and 10 at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno. The premiere performance will take place on the centenary of the premiere of Madama Butterfly in Milan.

"You may wonder why I am seized by the outrageous idea of making a sequel to Puccini's most popular opera," said Saegusa in an interview with The Daily Yomiuri. "The reason is that I've got an impression that Madama Butterfly does not come to an end, at least musically."

"Unlike ordinary pieces, Madama Butterfly does not end with the fundamental note of its key. Let me take an easy example of a tonic triad of do-mi-sol. A musical piece usually closes with the root of its key, namely the lowest do. However, in the case of Madama Butterfly it finishes with the highest note of sol. This always gives me a very strange feeling. By choosing this uncommon closing note, I imagine, Puccini would like to send a message that the opera is not really finished. Now I'm pretty confident about this since an Italian conductor concurred with my speculation."

"Set in the turbulent era of the Pacific War, Saegusa's opera revolves around Jr. Butterfly (J. B.), a U.S. intelligence agent in Kobe who falls in love with a young Japanese woman named Naomi," reports The Daily Yomiuri.

Saegusa, who was born in 1942 in Tokyo, studied composition at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His composition covers varied genres ranging from opera, oratorio and concerto to music for films and TV dramas. His complete operas include Ryurenfu (1978), Chushingura (1997) and Yamato Takeru (2001). Jr. Butterfly is his fifth opera.

More information can be found at Andante.com

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