M. Butterfly vs Madame Butterfly

The Guthrie Theater is about to stage “M. Butterfly” by playwright David Henry Hwang. But evidently quite a few people think the Guthrie is staging the opera “Madame Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini. In an effort to clear up the confusion, the theater’s PR office has put out a handy dandy reference sheet for journalists. I thought you might find it useful, too.

Title M. Butterfly Madame Butterfly
Author David Henry Hwang, Chinese-American playwright Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer
First Premiered On Broadway in 1988 At La Scala in 1904
Genre Play Opera
Is it a Musical? No No, it’s an opera.
Does it Contain Music? Puccini’s opera is referenced in the play and some of the music from it is heard. Yes, it’s an opera.
Setting China and France Japan
Main Characters French diplomat Rene Gallimard and Chinese opera performer Song Liling U.S. Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton and Japanese geisha Cio-Cio-San
What Does the Title Refer To? M. is the French abbreviation for Monsieur Cio-Cio-San is also known as Butterfly
Inspiration for the Story Inspired by the strange but true story of a French diplomat accused in 1986 of giving secrets to his Chinese lover. Although they were together for nearly 20 years, the diplomat claimed he did not know his lover was a spy. Or a man. Based on the short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) and the novel “Madame Chrysanthème”(1887)
Is There Nudity? Yes No
Where Can I See It? At the Guthrie from April 17 through June 6 Not at the Guthrie. Ever.

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