Constrained, cocooned, caught in a moment of desire, Butterfly is irresistible.
On tour in Japan, the American sailor Pinkerton cannot wait to bed his Japanese bride. But he’s already dreaming of an American life with an American wife. When his ship departs, he condemns Butterfly to purgatory.
This new production is by Australia’s most famous choreographer, Graeme Murphy. It’s a contemporary look at Puccini’s alluring heroine. He captures the grace and gravity of a tale that begins in rapturous love and ends in cruel heartbreak.
The production features floor-to-ceiling LED panels as a dynamic set. Fragments of film flutter across the stage. Puccini’s sublime music imbues this ageless story with beauty, from the irrepressible aria ‘Un bel dì’ (‘One fine day’) to the intense finale.
Hiromi Omura is the most sought-after Butterfly in the world. She returns in the title role along with Andeka Gorrotxategi as Pinkerton.
caught and pinned for his pleasure,
bound, beautiful still.
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Madama Butterfly at Sydney Opera House in 2019
Watch the trailer for Madama Butterfly
|Conductor||Pier Giorgio Morandi|
|Creative Associate||Janet Vernon|
|Revival Director||Shane Placentino|
|Production Designer||Michael Scott-Mitchell|
|Costume Designer||Jennifer Irwin|
|Lighting Designer||Damien Cooper|
|Digital Content||Sean Nieuwenhuis|
|The Bonze||Gennadi Dubinsky|
|Kate Pinkerton||Jane Ede|
Please note: this production includes a sudden flash of light and may not be suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy.
Please note: this production includes mature themes including cultural exploitation, sex and suicide.
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 30 minutes, including one interval.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
The American naval Lieutenant, Pinkerton, fascinated by the exotic beauty of the
geisha Cio-Cio-San, marries her while visiting Japan. Cio-Cio-San, enthralled by his
American ways and promise of a modern life in America, falls wholeheartedly in love
with the stranger. But Pinkerton already has a foot out the door, looking forward
to the day he will marry “a real wife, a wife from America.”
Years pass, and Cio-Cio-San waits faithfully for her husband’s return. Long abandoned by her family, she is alone with her servant Suzuki and a living memento of her American love. She refuses all offers of marriage, singing of her great hope for the day Pinkerton will return. The faithful Suzuki tries in vain to convince her to abandon hope.
But when his ship comes in, Pinkerton is not alone. As dawn breaks, what will become of Butterfly’s great hope?
Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.
Opportunistic marriage-broker Goro offers carefree U.S. Navy Lieutenant Pinkerton a house, a servant, Suzuki and a bride, Butterfly. Despite the misgivings of Pinkerton’s friend, the diplomat Sharpless, a hasty wedding takes place.
The marriage celebrations are disrupted by a priest, Butterfly’s uncle. He has learned that Butterfly has renounced her faith and taken the religion of her new husband. She is rejected by family and friends.
Alone, Butterfly and Pinkerton explore a tender intimacy beyond both their imagining.
Three years have passed and Butterfly, abandoned by Pinkerton, is emotionally fragile. Still she remains fiercely loyal. She rejects Goro’s persistent offer of a husband, the rich Yamadori. Sharpless, knowing that Pinkerton has married an American woman, urges Butterfly to consider Goro’s proposal. Enraged by Sharpless’ suggestion that Pinkerton may never return, Butterfly reveals her son — the treasure of Pinkerton and Butterfly’s brief union. Butterfly believes this will ensure Pinkerton’s return. Sharpless promises to inform him. Suzuki tells Butterfly that Goro is spreading vile rumours about the child and they attack him. As Goro escapes their wrath a cannon signals Pinkerton’s return.
In deranged joy, Butterfly asks Suzuki to adorn the house with flowers, even though the garden is long dead. Butterfly, Suzuki and the child wait for Pinkerton’s return. Butterfly descends into a fearful dream world. Suzuki urges Butterfly and the child to rest. She meets Pinkerton, Sharpless and a foreign woman and is devastated to learn it is Pinkerton’s wife, Kate. Pinkerton, wretched with remorse is unable to face Butterfly and flees. Butterfly finds Pinkerton absent. She quickly realises that the strange woman is his wife and that she has come to take the child.
Inconsolable and alone, Butterfly takes her own life.