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Subject: Madama Butterfly
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Jun 2017 23:11:54 -0400

text/plain (49 lines)

Malina Gulino wrote:

>"The moment I spotted a white woman with chopsticks in her blonde hair
climbing up the steps of the opera house last Wednesday, I should have
turned around and gone home. Instead, I figured that, as offensive as
Madama Butterfly is to me as a Japanese woman, the experience could be a
valuable exercise in critiquing art I don’t like. There is also the not
insignificant fact that, as part of the Music Humanities curriculum,
watching this opera is a graduation requirement, theoretically speaking
[....] In the only acceptable production of Madama Butterfly, Pinkerton
would be a Japanese woman, and Butterfly would be a white American man. And
he wouldn’t be just any white American man: Butterfly would be the most
pitiful, embarrassing caricature of a white American man possible,
portrayed by a Japanese singer in whiteface. Dolore would be an actual
human child. I want the white woman in the lobby with chopsticks in her
hair to feel uncomfortable. I want the audience that applauded and cheered
the Metropolitan Opera as it perpetuated disgusting, patronizing, racist
ideas about my people to know how Madama Butterfly makes me feel. I want
them to understand my pain. That, for me, would be a tolerable rendition of
Madama Butterfly. Then, I think, we could begin to heal. This season’s run
of Madama Butterfly ended yesterday night.... DO NOT see the next one"

RTWT here:


I don't think I've ever seen such an extreme reaction to Madama Butterfly.

Is anyone here on the side of this obviously, and self-consciously,
over-the-top commentator in thinking of Butterfly as a Western man?

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