The radio was playing selections from Madame Butterfly yesterday, which made me think about the post I made earlier this week. There are a lot of political interpretations that can be made using these idealized, romantic characters and situations. The opera has been decried as Anti-American and it certainly paints an unflattering picture of Pinkerton as cowardly, unfaithful, weak, and duplicitous, which by extension can be interpreted as meaning all Americans and the US itself are also. That's pretty insulting, really.
It is also one of the most performed and attended operas in North America. I'm thinking that maybe many opera lovers don't worry about interpreting their art and entertainment politically, or they can don't let a fictional story (even one based on actual events as Madame Butterfly is said to be) be insulting.