The Road to Butterfly has been so busy in the past week that I hardly know where to begin. First, the production team is searching for Japanese props, making Japanese costumes, and building a Japanese set. In the world of Butterfly, this means building an inviting “house” surrounded by sliding doors with rice paper in place of glass.

The team has located a historically appropriate Buddha statue that serves as a private shrine in the Giesha’s house. Is it a problem that this Buddha is in a Chinese style? No. At the turn of the last century, when Japan was progressively opening to outsiders, Chinese Buddhas were “in.”

Where do you find a theatrical suicide knife? This is important to the Butterfly story line. It has to read from the audience as if it’s a real dagger. It has to be blunt edged so that none of the actors is unintentionally impaled. They found it on E-Bay. Check that item off the to-do list.

The first run-through with the whole cast takes place tomorrow at the theater for three hours. The pianist and harpist will be there. This early rehearsal will focus exclusively on singing, and there is a lot of singing to coordinate.

Remember the last post of Road to Butterfly regarding the opening night failure at LaScala? Here is what Puccini wrote to a friend: “It is I who am right. It is the finest opera I have written.” To another friend, Puccini wrote, “You must have been dismayed at the vile remarks of an envious press. But never fear! Madama Butterfly is full of life and truth and soon she will rise from the dead. I say it, and stick to it, with unwavering conviction.”

Puccini was right, and with some retooling, it was a success. Now for the answer to our trivia question, which Carole Krysan correctly answered. The Met in New York first performed Madama Butterfly in 1907 after Puccini retooled the opera following its 1904 opening at La Scala. Carole can contact the VPT box office to claim two free tickets to the production.

The next trivia question: Name the world famous soprano who recorded Butterfly with the great tenor Jussi Bjoerling.

Email your answer to One entry per person. Previous winners should give someone else a chance. A drawing will be held of the correct answers and the winner will receive two tickets to Village Player’s Madama Butterfly.

Butterfly opens June 8 at Village Players Theatre in Oak Park. To purchase tickets visit or call (866)764-1010.

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