The Tale of Madame Butterfly


Madame Butterfly pic

Madame Butterfly

Westbury, NY, resident Valerie Varnuska has a passion for the arts and enjoys trips to the theater. One of Valerie Varnuska’s favorite shows is Madame Butterfly, an opera that has enjoyed success for over a century, thanks to its classic story and traditional staging.

Composed by Giacomo Puccini and first performed in 1904, Madame Butterfly follows the story of an arranged marriage between a young Japanese woman named Cio-Cio-San, the titular Madame Butterfly, and Lieutenant Pinkerton, who serves in the United States Navy.

Though Cio-Cio-San takes the arrangement seriously and quickly falls in love with her American suitor, Pinkerton treats the marriage as an afterthought and leaves his wife behind for three years soon after conceiving a child with her.

Upon his return, Pinkerton brings with him a new wife, Kate, and decides to adopt the child that Cio-Cio-San bore him. Though she knows that the adoption will offer her child greater opportunities in life, Cio-Cio-San sinks into despair upon learning about Pinkerton’s marital betrayal. She eventually decides to give her child to Pinkerton and Kate, bidding the young boy a final farewell before committing suicide.


Art Nouveau Designer and Architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh pic

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

As a fine arts enthusiast, Westbury, New York, resident Valerie Varnuska enjoys watching operettas such as Die Fledermaus. Valerie Varnuska also appreciates architecture and interior design.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a notable architect and designer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Mackintosh became well known for his innovative and unique designs that reinterpreted historical styles.

Mackintosh garnered an international reputation for windows, posters, and furniture designed in the art nouveau style. His designs incorporated flowing, organic shapes alongside geometric forms. Artists of the art nouveau period intended to throw off historical inspiration and create artistic forms that were entirely new.

The Glasgow School of Art, completed in 1909, is Mackintosh’s most notable project. The building and its interior fixtures and furnishings were designed in the art nouveau style.

Tragically, the school was heavily damaged in a fire in 2014. The building is undergoing a careful restoration, however, and is expected to reopen in 2018.