I FELL in love with Puccini at his birthplace in Tuscany.

His haunting music grabbed my heart and had me crying like a baby.

My affair was rekindled at Opera North’s production of Madama Butterfly, the heartbreaking story of a young Japanese girl’s love and betrayal at the hands of her American husband.

The beautiful music was breathtaking and Anne Sophie Duprels, while not exactly the teenager Cio-Cio San, managed to portray the coy, blushing bride whose life is destroyed by the scoundrel Lieutenant Pinkerton — Noah Stewart — whose marriage of convenience is a sham.

Duprels, who was born in Paris, made Cio-Cio San her own in the second act when she managed to wring every emotion from the audience with her stunning voice.

Peter Savidge, as the Consular Sharpless who is the go-between and sees how the young geisha is being abused and destroyed, had a voice loaded with humility.

But the whole production would have been nothing without the fantastic set created by Hildegard Bechtler.

Massive sliding screens, discrete cupboards and drawers and simple ramps turned the stage into an amazing Japanese home.

With Puccini’s classics — the Humming Chorus and Butterfly’s aria “un bel di” (One Fine Day) — it was another triumph for Opera North.