Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval.
This production contains sexual references, themes of sexual abuse and suicide.
Special Offer: Book 4+ tickets and Save!*
That’s a saving of $176 when you book four A-reserve tickets to any performance.
Simply select the ‘Group of 4+’ price when choosing your seats in A, B, C, D, or E Reserve and the offer will be automatically applied.
Naming Rights Partner
Official Airline Partner
Dr Haruhisa Handa
“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 Opera 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.
“Beautiful, heartrending, provocative ★★★★½”
“A wonderful, quintessentially Sydney evening. ★★★★½”
“A glittering night out.”
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?
Add a taste of luxury to your evening with pre-performance drinks and fine dining.
Enjoy exclusive access to an undercover pop-up restaurant and bar with uninterrupted views overlooking Sydney Harbour, exclusive menus, superior NSW wines, five-star table service, and dedicated restrooms.
When walking from the train, bus, or ferry remember that access to the venue via the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is only possible prior to 6:30pm in March and 6pm in April.
Please note there is a marine exclusion zone for the duration of the event.
Mrs Macquaries Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend avoiding this road by catching public transport or parking in surrounding car parks and then catching our free shuttle bus. Or, be delivered right to the Point in style by catching a water taxi.
When walking from the train/bus remember that access to the venue via the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is only possible prior to 6:30pm in March and 6pm in April. After this time, the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is closed from all entrances and not possible to walk through.
*These linked maps and estimated walk times use routes outside of The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. If you’re walking before the Garden gates close (prior to 6.30pm in March and 6pm in April), using a route through the Garden will save time.
The Domain Car Park is the closest car park. The car park is open 24 hours. A free shuttle bus is available to guests who park in the Domain Car Park (see details below). Parking spots for those with mobility parking scheme permits are located at the northern end of the ground floor.
There is metered parking along Mrs Macquaries Road, Hospital Road and Macquarie Street. Meters accept credit card or payment by mobile phone.
Art Gallery Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend arranging an alternative drop off/meeting point.
Complimentary shuttle bus (wheelchair accessible)
The pre-performance shuttle service starts at 4:30pm and runs on a loop from the Domain Car Park (departing from Sir John Young Crescent on the ground floor) to the venue entrance on Mrs Macquaries Road. The shuttle ride takes approximately 5 minutes, depending on traffic. The pre-performance shuttle bus does not stop at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The post-performance shuttle service starts from 8:45pm and runs until midnight, or until the last patron has left, and stops at both the Art Gallery of NSW and the Domain Car Park.
The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour shuttle bus departs from the ground floor of the Domain Car Park and is wheelchair accessible.
Water taxis run a special service during the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour performance season.
Water taxis will depart regularly from Man O’War Jetty (near the Sydney Opera House) from 5pm until 7.30pm* and drop off at The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, which is a 3-minute walk to the venue. Please note there is a number of stairs leading up from the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool wharf to the performance venue.
After the performance, taxis will recommence for the return trip and make a drop-off stop only at Circular Quay. Tickets are $15 one way or $30 return.
* This is a latecomers service and will get you to the venue AFTER the start of the performance. Note that patrons arriving late will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance. This break may not be until interval. Patrons who are late may not be seated in their allocated seat.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is an open-air and all-weather event
The venue, audience seating, and the stage are completely uncovered. The event is an all-weather experience and we are committed to going ahead with a performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour even in doubtful or unfavourable weather conditions. Please come prepared so that you are as comfortable as possible, and ready to support the performers, who will carry on singing in the rain.
Bring warm and waterproof clothing
Sydney weather is full of surprises so we recommend that you dress with this in mind and bring warm, weatherproof clothing. Please note that although umbrellas can be brought to the venue, out of consideration for other members of the audience they cannot be used during the performance.
Biodegradable ponchos will be available to purchase at the event. Once disposed of, the poncho takes about a year to break down and become a protein of the ecosystem. We’ll be donating any profit from the sale of ponchos to Clean Up Australia.
You may call our box office on +61 2 9318 8200 to exchange your tickets. You must do this before midday on the day of any weeknight performance, and midday Friday for weekends.
You can also exchange your tickets online, or receive a credit voucher for the value of your tickets, right up until the start of the performance.
Performance pauses and cancellations
We will only cancel a performance during electrical storms (within 10km radius) or during times of extremely high winds and/or rain. We will not cancel a performance until 7:30pm or later. We may decide to cancel a performance once the show is underway. Please plan to travel to the venue for a 7:30pm performance start time even in unfavourable weather conditions.
In some weather conditions, we may delay the start time of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbouror pause for up to 50 minutes at any point throughout the performance.
Auxiliary expenses including travel, accommodation or hospitality which you have arranged in conjunction with the performance are at your own risk and Opera Australia cannot refund these.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has wheelchair and companion seating allocations available.
Customers requiring the wheelchair and/or companion seating should contact the Opera Australia customer service team on 02 9318 8200, Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. Wheelchair and companion seating can only be booked over the phone.
The best seats for persons with limited mobility who are not wheelchair users are in the first 5 rows of sections A–E.
When patrons enter the venue via ‘Entry (Sections A–E)’ they will walk downhill to their seats and then up a few stairs to seats in higher rows if seats are not booked in row A. Upon exiting the venue, the path is uphill and persons with limited mobility may consider requesting the use of a Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour wheelchair and assistance if required
Assistance animals trained to assist people with disability are welcome at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Please phone our box office on 02 9318 8200 to make your booking so we can allocate you appropriate seating.
Patrons requiring a wheelchair should make contact with the onsite Box Office who will arrange for a transfer to allocated seating by wheelchair.
There is a lift available for wheelchair users or people with limited mobility.
The lift provides access from Ground level (bottom of the grandstand) to level 1 (HSBC Platinum Club) and Level 2 (Northern Terrace and upper Grandstand).
If you have difficulties with stairs, we advise purchasing tickets in the first five (5) rows of sections A to E to minimise the number of stairs you must climb. When booking via the phone, please let our box office staff know so you can be seated in this area to best suit your mobility requirements. Our ushers are also very helpful, so please ask them for assistance.
Refer to Access Guide which includes venue step count and surface description to assist with choosing your seats.
Please purchase your tickets through authorised ticket sellers.
Opera Australia is the primary ticket seller for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. We have also authorised other ticket sellers (including Sydney Opera House, Ticketmaster, TodayTix).
Opera Australia will cancel any tickets that we can identify have been purchased through unauthorised sellers for more than 10% above their original cost. Unauthorised sellers include but are not limited to Viagogo, Tickets Australia, Ticket Merchant, Ticket Blaster, TicketBis, Ticketmaster Resale, Queen of Tickets, eBay or Gumtree.
If you attend an event with such a ticket, we will not admit you into the venue. We will also void forged and fraudulent tickets (for example, where multiple copies have been made of the same tickets).
There are an increasing number of unauthorised ticket resellers operating online. We don’t want anyone to have a nasty surprise, so if you have any questions or concerns about the validity of your tickets or the authorisation of your ticket seller, please contact us on 02 9318 8200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please don’t bring a picnic. Only food and beverages purchased on site can be consumed within the venue.
There’s no compulsory dress code. Wear what you’ll feel comfortable in and make sure you wear sensible shoes, as you will have to walk up and down stairs to reach your seats.
Sydney weather is full of surprises so we recommend that you dress with this in mind and bring warm, weatherproof clothing.
Complete your night out with Ovolo Hotels
Enjoy a unique stay in Woolloomooloo
Only a short commute to Mrs Macquaries Point, Ovolo Woolloomooloo offers spacious and beautifully appointed rooms, indoor pool, restaurant, bar and fitness centre, overlooking the picturesque Sydney Harbour.
B.F. Pinkerton arrives in Japan and inspects a house overlooking the harbour that he is leasing from the marriage broker, Goro. The house comes with three servants and a geisha wife named Cio-Cio-San, known as Madama Butterfly. The American consul Sharpless arrives. Pinkerton describes his life of roaming the world in search of experience and pleasure. He intends to go through with the marriage ceremony even though he says that someday he will take a real, American wife. Butterfly views the marriage differently. She is heard climbing the hill with her friends for the ceremony.
After the formal introduction, Butterfly explains that her family was once prominent but lost its position, and she has had to earn her living as a geisha. Her relatives arrive. Cio-Cio-San shows Pinkerton her few possessions, and tells him she will embrace her husband’s religion. The Imperial Commissioner reads the marriage agreement, and the relatives congratulate the couple. Suddenly, a threatening voice is heard — it is The Bonze, Butterfly’s uncle, a priest. He curses the girl for converting to Christianity, Pinkerton orders them to leave and as they go, The Bonze and the shocked relatives reject Cio-Cio-San. She is helped by Suzuki into her wedding kimono, and joins Pinkerton in the garden.
Several years have passed, and Cio-Cio-San awaits her husband’s return. Suzuki prays to the gods for help, but Butterfly berates her, telling her that Pinkerton has promised to return one day. Sharpless appears with a letter from Pinkerton. Goro arrives with the latest potential husband for Butterfly, the wealthy Prince Yamadori. Butterfly politely serves the guests tea but insists she is not available for marriage. She dismisses Goro and Yamadori. Sharpless attempts to read Pinkerton’s letter and suggests that perhaps Butterfly should reconsider Yamadori’s offer. Butterfly shows the consul her small child. Sharpless is too upset to tell her more of the letter’s contents. He leaves, promising to tell Pinkerton of the child. A cannon shot is heard in the harbour announcing the arrival of Pinkerton’s ship.
Overjoyed, Butterfly joins Suzuki in strewing the house with flower petals. Night falls, and Butterfly, Suzuki, and the child settle into a vigil awaiting Pinkerton’s arrival.
Dawn breaks, and Suzuki insists that Butterfly should sleep, Butterfly carries the child into another room.
Sharpless appears with Pinkerton and Kate, Pinkerton’s new wife. Suzuki realises who the American woman is. Pinkerton is overcome with guilt and leaves rather than face Cio-Cio-San. Cio-Cio-San rushes in hoping to find Pinkerton, but sees Kate instead. Grasping the situation, she agrees to give up the child but insists Pinkerton return for him. Dismissing everyone, Butterfly takes out the dagger with which her father committed suicide, choosing to die with honour rather than live in shame.
She is interrupted momentarily when the child comes in. After an impassioned farewell, she blindfolds the child then stabs herself as Pinkerton calls her name.