I'm another one who saw this (also without surtitles) as a six year old and it started a lifelong love of music and opera. Just to add to those that said most Japanese don't believe this - the story of Butterfly was based on a real event not long after the opening up of Japan. This version is embellished with a ten minute intro that sets the scene and then the opera begins. There are so many lovely touches - chocolate box colours and a lovely Japanese actress playing Butterfly and always the heart wrenching music. It really has something special all of its own. Little wonder it has so many fans around the world even though it was made in 1954.
Other purists will note the score has been quite heavily cut- but even this is forgivable and even perhaps part of its charm when it serves as an introduction for first timers - it remains something unique and wonderful.
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