Madame Butterfly is a rare work of art: Its popularity cuts across genre and form, inspiring people far outside the realm of its original conception. Weezer's album Pinkerton makes many references to it, the film Fatal Attraction famously uses the aria Con Onore Muore, and Japanese anime legends Kon Satoshi and Katsuhiro Otomo wove Madame Butterfly into the fabric of their short film Magnetic Rose. Not bad for an opera that was pretty much a flop in its first incarnation. Puccini was an inspired craftsman, however, and he reworked Madame Butterfly into an eternally popular opera. And while Puccini's gorgeous music is a huge draw, the plot is the reason for Madame Butterfly's enduring appeal. U.S. naval officer Pinkerton is smitten with the geisha Butterfly and arranges for a quick, temporary wedding which can be ended at his discretion. Butterfly abandons her Japanese culture and beliefs for Pinkerton, giving herself body and soul to him, unaware of the transient nature of his "love." Who hasn't been spurned and felt the need for a dramatic exit that would demonstrate the depths of the love that has been so callously rejected? Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents Colin Graham's production of the Brescia version of Madame Butterfly, which is told in two acts and emphasizes — rather than mitigates — the condescending attitude Pinkerton expresses toward Butterfly (the cad!), at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; 314-961-0644 or www.experienceopera.org). Tickets are $25 to $110.
Thu., May 29, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 7, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 11, 1 p.m.; Fri., June 13, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 18, 1 p.m.; Sun., June 22, 7 p.m.; Tue., June 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 28, 1 p.m., 2008