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This show closed on August 10, 2019

About Madama Butterfly

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.

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 tale that begins in rapturous love and ends in the cruelest heartbreak.

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

Two exceptional casts perform throughout the season. Karah Son returns to Sydney, sharing the role of Cio-Cio-San with Mariana Hong.

Tell Me More

The famed opera “Madama Butterfly” was inspired by a short story penned by American writer John Luther Long in 1898. The three-act opera, by Giacomo Puccini, features an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa. Its story follows an American naval officer in Nagasaki, Japan, who marries a geisha. He returns to the United States leaving his lovesick bride behind. Since its premiere in 1904, “Madama Butterfly” has become one of the most frequently produced operas worldwide. The opera features the frequently performed aria “Un bel di.”

Graeme Murphy’s reimagined production, presented by Opera Australia, features flexible LED screens as a backdrop. The moving images, paired with contemporary choreography, brings a bold new look to the timeless love story. Karah Son and Mariana Hong will alternate performing the opera’s lead soprano, Cio-Cio-San.

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What To Watch For

  • The show’s director Graeme Murphy is the artistic director of Sydney Dance Company.
  • Karah Son has played the role of Cio-Cio-San in 16 productions.
  • Opera Australia is Australia's largest performing arts company.
  • The show is performed in Italian with Chinese subtitles.
  • “Madama Butterfly” was first presented at the Sydney Opera House in 1997.

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Run Time

2hrs, 45min; incl. 1 interval

Start Date

End Date

The blend of tradition with innovation and technology ushers us into a new era - there is no going back - and frankly who wants to after viewing this Madama Butterfly production.
Gina Fairley, ArtsHub

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Bennelong Point, Sydney, NSW 2000

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