Anthony Minghella, after directing "The English Patient" and "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," turned his talents to Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" - that "cross-cultural tragedy" of "devotion and irresponsibility and misunderstandings willful and innocent." Few operas are as difficult to bring off and Minghella's spare production made it "take wing." Hear it from the Met today at noon. South African soprano Amanda Echalaz makes an acclaimed Met debut as Cio-Cio-San, drawing on great "reserves of vocal color" for the tragic finale; Bryan Hymel is "vocally assured as the thoughtlessly callous Pinkerton."