Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 28 May 2016, 7pm

Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall

Alex marks the premiere of Madam Butterfly and other musical anniversaries.

Alex James invites you to join him for another whistle-stop tour through the week ahead in classical music, as he picks out all the most important dates, anniversaries and ‘on this day’ events.

Tonight, Alex marks the premiere of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly in 1904. Puccini wrote five versions of the opera. An original two-act version  was staged at La Scala, Milan on 17 February 1904, but was withdrawn after a disastrous premiere. Puccini then substantially rewrote it and it was this second version that was performed on this day, 28 May 1904 in Brescia, where it was a great success.

Other premieres under the spotlight tonight include Debussy’s ballet L’après-midi d’un faune in 1912, and Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie in 1817.

Alex will also discover why composer Benjamin Britten found himself in court during World War II. And there’s celebratory cake to mark the birthday of conductor Sir Mark Elder.

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Musical abbreviations quiz asset

You won’t get 20/20 on this quiz if you don’t know your musical abbreviations

musician would you rather

This musician edition of Would You Rather is completely excruciating

greatest best man speech

Everyone is saying this pianist gave the greatest best man speech of all time