Friday, October 1, 2010
But Puccini’s opera is more than sensory decoration. The central affair begins when Gallimard sees Song Liling in a Chinese production of this western opera, which is about a 19th century U.S. naval officer who seduces and abandons a young Japanese woman.
“There are parallels in the characters and the situations,” Thomas said. “Gallimard even calls Song Liling his ‘Butterfly.’ It deals with stereotypes Western men have had about Asian women—of the delicate girl who devotes her life to nothing but pleasing the man. And this is the stereotype that Gallimard loves, to the point of obsession.”