The story follows Giesha girl Cio-Cio-San, aka Madam Butterfly, who marries American Lieutenant Pinkerton while he is stationed in Japan, ignorant of the fact that he considers this a short-term contract that can be easily broken for when he returns home to find an American wife.
The first half is the romantic liaison between the two with Cio-Cio-San's hope, optimism and love, while Puccini controls the audience's emotions with an undercurrent of sadness at what the future may hold.
While the latter half of the opera moves on to the future, three years after Pinkerton has left Madam Butterfly. Every day, she waits for him to return to her and their son, but when he does, it is far from what she expects with tragic consequences.
Some of the finest of Puccini's arias feature in Madam Butterfly, including the emotional One Fine Day, making this a real delight in opera terms.
Director Joachim Herz aims to make this production for the Welsh National Opera (WNO) like a classic, sepia tinged old photograph set-wise.
While keeping mostly traditional to the late 1800s time period, the WNO said this production was a nostalgic glimpse of a vanished world.
For those of you new to opera, the Madam Butterfly storyline was the inspiration for the West End musical Miss Saigon, translating late 1890s Japan to the Vietnam War.
Sung in Italian with surtitles in English, this opera is approximately 2 hours 40 minutes including one interval.
There are free pre-performance talks on the opera for ticket-holders at 6.15pm before each show.
An audio described performance takes place on March 8 and is preceded by a touch tour on stage at 6pm.
Welsh National Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome
March 8 and 9. 7.15pm.
Tickets cost from £16 to £48 from WNO ticket website.
For disabled access requirements, call 0844 338 5050.