Choose a date to see seats and prices

See All Events

2023

March

Fri
24 Mar 2023

Sat
25 Mar 2023

Sun
26 Mar 2023

Tue
28 Mar 2023

Wed
29 Mar 2023

Thu
30 Mar 2023

Fri
31 Mar 2023

April

Sat
01 Apr 2023

Sun
02 Apr 2023

Tue
04 Apr 2023

Wed
05 Apr 2023

Thu
06 Apr 2023

Sat
08 Apr 2023

Sun
09 Apr 2023

Tue
11 Apr 2023

Wed
12 Apr 2023

Thu
13 Apr 2023

Fri
14 Apr 2023

Sat
15 Apr 2023

Sun
16 Apr 2023

Tue
18 Apr 2023

Wed
19 Apr 2023

Thu
20 Apr 2023

Fri
21 Apr 2023

Sat
22 Apr 2023

Sun
23 Apr 2023
Dates

24 March–23 April 2023

Venue

Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney

Language

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Running time

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval.

“A modern Butterfly soars as art and spectacle combine on Sydney Harbour” (Limelight)

The critically acclaimed and wildly popular Madama Butterfly returns to the Handa on Sydney Harbour stage.

Under the stars, with fireworks every night as well as pop up bars and eateries, this is “the most impressive outdoor event in Australia… You don’t need to understand opera to understand what makes the occasion great” (Concrete Playground).

Take your seats overlooking ‘Paradise’ – complete with a bamboo grove, a giant moon, and a rising sun floating in the harbour. The picture-perfect backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge twinkles with thousands of city lights as night falls.

For innocent Cio-Cio-San, love flutters on wings of desire. For brash Pinkerton, a flight of fancy is irresistible. On their wedding night, passions ignite. Yet, how ephemeral is their ecstatic embrace?

Puccini’s intimate ode to unrequited love has always been shocking. East meets West, devotion meets disregard, expectation meets disappointment. In the clash, Cio-Cio-San’s dreams shatter.

Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour is a “five star world-beating triumph, surely one of the most spectacular outdoor operas ever staged anywhere” (Time Out).

Join us for Sydney’s best night out.

Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour (2014)

Cheat Sheet: Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour

Here’s everything you need to know…

What happens in the story? Who was the composer? What should I expect from the music?

Read the cheat sheet
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour Platinum Club

The HSBC Platinum Club

Add a taste of luxury to your evening with pre-performance drinks and fine dining.

Enjoy exclusive access to an undercover pop-up restaurant with uninterrupted views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, exclusive menus, superior NSW wines, five-star table service, and dedicated restrooms.

Bookings for the HSBC Platinum Club will be available at a later date. Join our mailing list to keep up to date.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The history of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

From La Traviata to The Phantom of the Opera. Find out more about the spectacular 10-year history of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, and discover extraordinary behind-the-scenes stories.

Read the article

Frequently Asked Questions

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience - West Side Story (2019)

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The Experience - West Side Story (2019)

Cast & Creative

Conductor
Director
Revival Director
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Based on original lighting design by
Sound Designer
Cio-Cio-San
Suzuki
Pinkerton
Sharpless
Goro

Opera Australia Chorus
Opera Australia Orchestra

Synopsis

ACT I

On a terrace above Nagasaki harbour, US Navy Lieutenant B F Pinkerton inspects the house he has leased from a marriage broker, Goro, who has procured for him a geisha wife known as Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San). To the American Consul, Sharpless, who arrives breathless from climbing the hill, Pinkerton describes his carefree philosophy of a sailor roaming the world in search of pleasure. For the moment, he is enchanted with the fragile Cio-Cio-San and intends to undergo a marriage ceremony with her – a 999-year contract, but subject to monthly renewal. When Sharpless warns that the girl may not take her vows so lightly, the lieutenant brushes aside such scruples, adding that he will one day take a 'real' American wife.

Cio-Cio-San is heard in the distance joyously singing of her wedding day. After she has entered, surrounded by her friends, she tells Pinkerton how, when her family fell on hard times, she had to earn her living as a geisha. Soon her relatives arrive and noisily express their opinions of the marriage. In a quiet moment, Cio-Cio-San shows the bridegroom her little store of possessions, one of which she hides from public view. Goro explains that it is a sheathed knife which the Mikado sent to Butterfly's father, with the 'invitation' to commit hara-kiri – which he obeyed. Butterfly confesses to Pinkerton that she, on the previous evening, secretly went to the Mission and adopted the religion of her new husband.

The wedding ceremony completed, the guests toast the couple. Suddenly Cio-Cio-San's uncle, a priest, bursts upon the scene, cursing the girl for having renounced her ancestors' religion. Pinkerton angrily orders priest and family to leave.

Alone with his bride, he dries her tears in the moonlit garden, where they discover the depths of their love.

Read More

Strategic Sponsor

NSW Government and Feel New Sydney logo

Patron-in-Chief
Dr Haruhisa Handa

The International Foundation for Arts and Culture

Principal Partner

HSBC logo

Government Partner

Australian Council for the Arts logo