Butterfly Photographs
The story is a quite familiar one. Pinkerton, An American naval officer stationed in Nagasaki, Japan falls in love with a geisha girl, Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly), and marries her against the advice of the American Consul. Promising he would return, he goes back to America. Years pass, Cio-Cio-San attended by her servant Suzuki, faithfully waits (and sings one of opera's most memorable arias, Un bel di.... or "One beautiful day..."). Meanwhile, Pinkerton, who never took his Japanese marriage seriously, has found himself an American wife, Kate. But when he learns from the Consul that Cio-Cio-San has borne him a son and has been waiting for him, he returns with Kate to Nagasaki to claim his son. Cio-Cio-San agrees to give him the child, but overcome with grief commits hara-kiri. Pinkerton, filled with remorse, tearfully bids farewell as he sings one of opera's famous tenor arias Addio, fiorito asil.... And when Richard Leech, today's pre-eminent Pinkerton (blond and All-American) sings it - with soaring conviction - he tugs at your heart strings, and in the end you are filled with sympathy for a fellow who was, to begin with, a scoundrel.

(Richard Leech is the Cover Story of FanFaire's Anniversary Issue. )
(Richard Leech photos: MLHart, Courtesy: Martha L. Hart; Other Photos: Ken Howard, Courtesy: Los Angeles Opera)

(See MusicPlanner f
or LA Opera's season calendar.)

The Los Angeles Opera cast:
Cio-Cio-San (Yoko Watanabe)
Pinkerton (Richard Leech)
Suzuki (Susanna Guzman)
Go to: Butterfly in San Francisco