On February 17, 1904 Madame Butterfly premiered in La Scala in Milan, Italy. The Puccini opera is based on the short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long and on semi-autobiographical 1887 French novel Madam Chrysantheme by Pierre Loti.
It is the story of the Japanese lover of an American serviceman. She commits suicide when he returns to Japan with his American wife.
Madama Butterfly has become a staple of the operatic repertoire around the world, ranked 6th by Operabase; Puccini’s La bohème and Tosca rank 3rd and 5th.