Madama Butterfly runs the gamut of operatic emotions. The title heroine has a fragility wonderfully expressed in her entry music, deep sexual instincts as shown in the love duet, and immense tragic stature in her last hours. The fate of Madama Butterfly – married to an American sailor and then abandoned – engages our emotions, as it obviously did Puccini’s to a degree equalled by few other opera heroines. The oriental setting and the exquisite orchestral and choral writings are treasured bonuses. This audiobook is the perfect introduction to Madama Butterfly. We learn about the background to Puccini’s ‘Japanese’ opera, the social themes of honour and loyalty it involves, and how it progressed from a surprisingly unsuccessful premiere to one of the central and best-loved works of the international operatic repertory. As the story unfolds, we get to know the melodies which make this such a moving and compelling opera.