This event has finished. See what's on.

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.

Please note

This production contains sexual references, themes of sexual abuse and suicide.

Production partner

Fluttering beauty, caught and pinned, yet beautiful still.

Constrained, cocooned, caught in a moment of desire, Butterfly is incandescent. In her embrace, Pinkerton finds paradise, then cruelly 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. Diego Torre gives Pinkerton complexity and depth through his exemplary technique and timbre. 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
Bonze
Yamadori
Kate Pinkerton
Commissioner
Registrar

Opera Australia Chorus
Opera Australia Orchestra

Madama Butterfly

Cheat Sheet: Madama Butterfly

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

 

Overture Dining at the Sydney Opera House

Enjoy dinner before the opera

Overture Dining at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You’ll be served a three-course menu for just $89.

See the menu

 

Covid Safe logo

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.

Find out more

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.

Read More