March 18, 2014


Mrs Macquaries Point on Sydney Harbour has been transformed for this year’s spectacular production of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Opera Australia’s modern adaption of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly will run for only 20 performances under the stars at 7.30 pm, from 21 March to 12 April 2014. Madama Butterfly will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Sandra Tiltman with alternating Butterflys

Sandra Tiltman with alternating Butterflys

With a distinctly modern feel such as American naval officer Pinkerton being represented as a property developer, as well as one of Madama Butterfly’s most striking costumes featuring a full-body tattoo, this production is sure to excite those who have previously seen a more traditional version of the opera performed.

The Madama Butterfly company comes from eleven different countries, with two principal casts alternating performances, led by Hiromi Omura and Hyeseoung Kwon as Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly). It takes 626 cast, crew, musicians and production staff to stage the show.

This year the stage is 12m larger, resulting in a 44m x 29m performance space, undulating to mimic the hills of Japan and features a full bamboo garden. For the first time, the stage is designed to become an extension of the Royal Botanical Gardens itself, utilising 1279sqm of artificial turf. The show will feature two inflatable orbs to represent the sun and the moon. The sun orb will have its own barge to give the impression it is rising from the Harbour.

Madama Butterfly comes to Sydney Harbour 110 years after it was first performed at La Scala in Milan, Italy.   Sandra Tiltman      

Photos: John Pond