Madama Butterfly


Madama Butterfly

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre May 4 – 30, 2015
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Stalls D Reserve
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Mon 4.5.15
7:30 PM
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Wed 6.5.15
7:30 PM
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Sat 9.5.15
7:30 PM
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Tue 12.5.15
7:30 PM
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Thu 14.5.15
7:30 PM
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Sat 16.5.15
1:00 PM
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Fri 22.5.15
7:30 PM
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Sat 30.5.15
7:30 PM
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"Wood, stone, water, fire, air: the universe distilled into a harmonic equation. Inside is outside, boundaries are doorways... A breath of fresh air equals the wind. One woman's death equals all life..."

These are the words two young designers wrote as they described their vision for Madama Butterfly.

Russell Cohen and Peter England looked at Japan through Pinkerton's eyes, striving to capture the wonder and beauty that sparked a young US sailor's desire. "Our ambition was to convey this sense of discovery and exotica," they said. "When Pinkerton enters, he and the audience must be thrilled by this 'new world'."

The pair turned to Japanese traditions to create this world of beauty and passion. Costumes of brilliant colour and fabrics that move sensuously, billowing in the performer's wake come from the traditions of Kabuki Theatre. From Noh Theatre, the striking spare wooden platforms and timber bridges, a floating world about a moat of water. From the traditions of Zen Buddhism, a commitment to restrained simplicity and a respect for the elements.

There are moments of breathtaking beauty in their use of wood, the movement of gossamer silks and the combination of water and flame. The Japan that Pinkerton sees is an ethereal, exotic world — fragile and beautiful, like the innocent Butterfly that he so desires.


Rejected by her past, forgotten by the man she loves, Butterfly clings to the promise of honour, just beyond the horizon.

Enjoy dinner before the show at Arts Centre Melbourne's Tram Bar

Let us set the scene for Madama Butterfly, as Arts Centre Melbourne's forecourt is transformed into a delicate Japanese oasis. Indulge in the flavours of exquisite Japanese-inspired dishes. $55 per person includes three courses with matched wine. Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting tickets for Madama Butterfly.


Conductor Guillaume Tourniaire
Director Moffatt Oxenbould
Set & Costume Designers

Peter EnglandRussell Cohen

Lighting Designer Robert Bryan
Rehearsal Directors Matthew Barclay
Andrew Frith
Cio-Cio-San Svetla Vassileva (until 16 May)
Hyesoung Kwon
Pinkerton James Eggleston (until 16 May)
Martin Buckingham
Suzuki Sian Pendry
Sharpless Michael Honeyman
Goro Graeme Macfarlane
Kate Pinkerton Jane Ede
The Bonze Jud Arthur
Yamadori Samuel Dundas
Commissioner Jonathan McCauley
Registrar Dean Bassett

Orchestra Victoria

Opera Australia Chorus

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one 20-minute interval

Performed in Italian with English surtitles

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