Thursday 27 August 2015

Pinkerton, that jerk!

I've just returned from Opera Bohemia's Thursday night performance of Madame Butterfly for the Edinburgh Festival. It was really very good. Normally when I go to an opera in Edinburgh, I think with longing of dear old Toronto and the Canadian Opera Company. However, Opera Bohemia was excellent.

I had forgotten what a louse Pinkerton is. Pinkerton, in case you have forgotten, is the American naval officer who goes to Nagasaki and "marries" a beautiful Japanese girl named Cio-Cio-San. Cio-Cio-San thinks they're married; however, there's something about that Japanese wedding that apparently isn't binding, even if the American Consul puts in an appearance. So when Pinkerton goes off home--er. Well, don't want to ruin the plot. However, Old Pinky is giggling about temporary marriages from Act 1 Scene 1, quite as if he were paraphrasing American sex tourists he's read on the manosphere.

By the end of the opera, a church full of Edinburghers was sniffling away and wiping its eyes. Och, aye.

My one complaint is the translation of moglie (Act 3)  as "partner." Puh-lease. I know this is Scotland in 2015, and we hate to make the bidie-ins feel second-best, but moglie means "wife." There are still wives in Scotland, and some of us refuse to refer to ourselves as "partners". Meanwhile the whole point of Madame Butterfly is wife-ness and not-wife-ness, and what happens when your wife thinks she is your wife but you think she is your "partner".

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