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2022

June

Wed
29 Jun 2022

July

Fri
01 Jul 2022

Thu
07 Jul 2022

Sat
09 Jul 2022

Mon
11 Jul 2022

Wed
13 Jul 2022

Sat
16 Jul 2022

Wed
20 Jul 2022

Fri
22 Jul 2022

Tue
26 Jul 2022

Sat
30 Jul 2022
Venue

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney

Language

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Running time

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval.

Production partner

Fluttering beauty, caught and pinned for his pleasure, bound, yet beautiful still.

Constrained, cocooned, caught in a moment of desire, Butterfly is incandescent. In her exotic embrace, Pinkerton finds paradise, then carelessly condemns his bride to purgatory.

Graeme Murphy’s arresting production of Madama Butterfly takes a contemporary look at Puccini’s alluring heroine using a towering digital set.

Fragments of film flutter across the stage, creating a dynamic backdrop for Murphy’s vision of Butterfly. He draws on his roots in choreography to capture the grace and gravity of a story that begins in rapturous love and ends in the cruellest heartbreak.

Puccini’s sublime music imbues this ageless story with impossible beauty, from the irrepressible famous aria ‘One fine day’ to the intense finale.

South Korean soprano Sae Kyung Rim’s voice is in demand the world over and her Butterfly is richly nuanced. Coached by none other than Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor Ivan Magrì gives Pinkerton complexity and depth through his exemplary technique and timbre. His compatriot Carlo Montanaro conducts.

Cast & Creative

Conductor
Director
Creative Associate
Revival Director
Production Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Digital Content
Cio-Cio-San
Suzuki
Pinkerton
Sharpless
Michael Honeyman (until Jul 13)
Luke Gabbedy (from Jul 16)
Goro
Yamadori
Kate Pinkerton
Commissioner
Registrar

Opera Australia Chorus
Opera Australia Orchestra

Madama Butterfly

Cheat Sheet: Madama Buttefrfly

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
Madama Butterfly

Opera in a Minute: Madama Butterfly

Have you got 60 seconds?

What exactly happens in Madama Butterfly?

Watch the video

 

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Keeping you safe at the theatre

COVID Safety

Our performances will comply with all Public Health Orders and adhere to our epidemiologist-approved COVID-Safe Plan, including any requirement at the time of the performance that audience members be vaccinated. Full details of our COVID-Safe Plan will be published online closer to the event.

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House (2019)

Photographer: Prudence Upton

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.

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