Premieres of the standard version in major opera houses throughout the world include those in the Teatro de la Opera de Buenos Aires on 2 July 1904, under Arturo Toscanini, this being the first performance in the world outside Italy. Its first performance in Britain was in London on 10 July 1905 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, while the first US performance was presented in English on 15 October 1906, in Washington, D.C., at the Columbia Theater. The first performance in New York took place on 12 November of the same year at the Garden Theatre. The Metropolitan Opera first performed the work on 11 February 1907 in the presence of the composer with Geraldine Farrar as Cio-Cio San, Enrico Caruso as Pinkerton, Louise Homer as Suzuki, Antonio Scotti as Sharpless, and Arturo Vigna conducting. Three years later, the first Australian performance was presented at the Theatre Royal in Sydney on 26 March 1910, starring Amy Eliza Castles.
Between 1915 and 1920, Japan's best-known opera singer Tamaki Miura won international fame for her performances as Cio-Cio-san. A memorial to this singer, along with one to Puccini, can be found in the Glover Garden in the port city of Nagasaki, where the opera is set.