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MADAMA BUTTERFLY: THE MYTHOLOGY OR HOW IMPERIALISM AND THE PATRIARCHY CRUSHED BUTTERFLY'S WINGS

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Date Issued:
2014
Abstract/Description:
As a popular historic work with constant and worldwide performances, the sexist and racist narratives disseminated by Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly causes harmful social and political ramifications. Many scholars point to this opera specifically when discussing the fetishization of Asian females, and mention the title character as the quintessential example of damaging stereotypes. Thus, I conduct a postcolonial and feminist reading of Madama Butterfly, through analysis of the opera's libretto, the libretto sources, and the opera's score. I unravel the Orientalist assumptions that make up the foundation of the Butterfly narrative, and trace them as they make their way into Puccini's opera. I re-read Madama Butterfly as a metaphor for imperialism, and its effects on the colonized psyche. I examine Lieutenant Pinkerton and Butterfly's characters with specific attention to the power dynamics of their relationship in the context of colonization. I emphasize gender, race, and class tensions evident within the white male and white female gazes on the bodies of third world women of color. I present Puccini's musical choices in the operatic score as supplementary to my postcolonial-feminist reading. Puccini's use of pentatonic scales to evoke "Oriental" sounds, as well as his appropriation of Japanese folk tunes and "The Star Spangled Banner" into the score serve to supplement my basic contentions that Madama Butterfly is a product of Oriental discourse and a metaphor for imperialism and its effect on the colonized psyche.
Title: MADAMA BUTTERFLY: THE MYTHOLOGY OR HOW IMPERIALISM AND THE PATRIARCHY CRUSHED BUTTERFLY'S WINGS.
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Name(s): Nieves, Adriana, Author
Warfield, Scott, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: As a popular historic work with constant and worldwide performances, the sexist and racist narratives disseminated by Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly causes harmful social and political ramifications. Many scholars point to this opera specifically when discussing the fetishization of Asian females, and mention the title character as the quintessential example of damaging stereotypes. Thus, I conduct a postcolonial and feminist reading of Madama Butterfly, through analysis of the opera's libretto, the libretto sources, and the opera's score. I unravel the Orientalist assumptions that make up the foundation of the Butterfly narrative, and trace them as they make their way into Puccini's opera. I re-read Madama Butterfly as a metaphor for imperialism, and its effects on the colonized psyche. I examine Lieutenant Pinkerton and Butterfly's characters with specific attention to the power dynamics of their relationship in the context of colonization. I emphasize gender, race, and class tensions evident within the white male and white female gazes on the bodies of third world women of color. I present Puccini's musical choices in the operatic score as supplementary to my postcolonial-feminist reading. Puccini's use of pentatonic scales to evoke "Oriental" sounds, as well as his appropriation of Japanese folk tunes and "The Star Spangled Banner" into the score serve to supplement my basic contentions that Madama Butterfly is a product of Oriental discourse and a metaphor for imperialism and its effect on the colonized psyche.
Identifier: CFH0004716 (IID), ucf:45400 (fedora)
Note(s): 2014-12-01
B.M.
Arts and Humanities, Dept. of Music
Bachelors
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Madama Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini
Luigi Illica
Giuseppe Giacosa
Madame Butterfly
postcolonial theory
feminist theory
feminism
postcolonialism
imperialism
Orientalism
Edward Said
Frantz Fanon
American imperialism
Japan
fetishization
sexism
racism
opera
music
intersectionality
intersectional feminism
colonialism
colonization
psychoanalysis
John Luther Long
David Belasco
Pierre Loti
Madame Chrysantheme
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFH0004716
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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