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In a Chats in the Stacks book talk, Arthur Groos, Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities Emeritus, discusses Madama Butterfly/Madamu Batafurai: Transpositions of a 'Japanese Tragedy' (Cambridge University Press, 2023), in which he examines how the "temporary marriage" practices between Western men and Japanese women in the nineteenth century influenced the plot of Giacomo Puccini's famous opera, Madama Butterfly (1904) and traces the plot’s origin in an eye-witness missionary account, its transmission via John Luther Long’s short story and David Belasco’s play, and its fractious adaptation as an opera.Groos also discusses his meticulous archival research, often from unpublished sources, which reveals how Puccini and his librettists endowed the plot with dialogic constructions of the heroine that are both cruel and empathetic, creating a “contemporary” music-drama with multiple possibilities for interpreting the misalliance between the main characters. As an orientalizing tragedy with a racially inflected representation of Cio-Cio-San, the opera had a contentious reception in Japan, becoming a lightning rod for identity politics while also stimulating decolonizing transpositions into indigenous theatre traditions such as Bunraku puppet theatre and Takarazuka musicals. This talk was hosted by Olin Library.