'Un bel di,' by Giacomo Puccini

From 'Madame Butterfly'

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JiYoung Lee as Madame Butterfly at the Washington National Opera
Karin Cooper

Puccini's Madame Butterfly is one of the most beloved operas of all time, so it would be difficult for any one of its many great tunes to outstrip the opera itself. But one of its arias comes close. Cio-cio-san is warned that Pinkerton, her American husband, may never return. She responds with "Un bel di," a song expressing great longing, and great faith, saying that on "One fine day," she'll gaze at Pinkerton's ship sailing into harbor.



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