Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney set

Madama Butterfly by Opera Australia is flying away after 20 years

It was 20 years ago that Moffatt Oxenbould directed Opera Australia’s since two decade-long production that is Madama Butterfly.

The production has lived on between cities, bringing the joy of the Madama to audiences around Australia but now after a fair stint, Opera Australia is retiring the production, giving the Butterfly one last flutter before she is metaphorically pinned to the board and recorded as one of OA’s most well-touted productions.

SEE ALSO: What’s to come from Opera Australia in 2017

Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney Cio Cio San

Performed over 150 times since inception, it’s one of the leading opera company’s most enjoyed performances, only this year, bringing Korean soprano Karah Son to the stage as the principal role of Cio-Cio San (Butterfly).

Hear the most famous aria from Madama Butterfly ‘Un Bel Di Vedremo’ below…

It’s a moving tale of blindingly irritating one-sided love by a waif of a woman, entranced by the grandiose arrogance of an American soldier that ultimately, leads to the Butterfly’s tragic demise. It’s a emotion tale by Puccini as old as love itself, though reimagined in a theatrically allegorical way that only the likes of Opera Australia and Oxenbould could conjure.

Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney Diplomats

The stage is drastically bare and refreshingly minimalistic – in dramatic juxtaposition to the effervescent likes of Opera Australia’s Carmen in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at Sydney’s Opera House last July, for example – which allows the vocals of the likes of Son and Australian-based, Mexican tenor Diego Torre to really take hold.

MORE: How Diego Torre stole the hearts of Opera Singers the world over… and made it look easy

Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney red set

Punctuated with lanolin-enshrouded avatars that usher-in and out the moving stages of the love-soaked torment of Butterfly’s four-year relationship hiatus as she awaits the return of her abandoning husband Pinkerton, the Japandi-like stage allows the bold and lively work of the costume department to really work wonders.

The token starry night scene of the performance is as dazzling as it was when Madama Butterfly was performed back in 2015, showcasing the stage department’s tenacity for semiotics and the singers’ propensity to effortlessly portray the painful passing of time.

Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney Moon dance

Singer Sian Pendry’s portrayal of the ever-loyal, ever-subservient hand maiden to the Butterfly in vocalistic magic the likes of which almost befits a principal role, shining through the often tough times in a performance in Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, is truly something to behold.

Pendry and the opportunistic marriage broker, Goro, played by Graeme Macfarlane add the necessary narrative the knock-on effect of such blind, ignorant love that embodies the Madama. It truly comes to a head with the colourful and delightfully enraging explosion of angst that is Butterfly’s uncle, The Bonze, performed so colourfully by Gennadi Dubinsky.

Opera Australia Madama Butterfly Capitol Theatre Sydney whle set

The Madama is taking her last flight in Sydney until November 4 at the Capitol Theatre and must be seen before it’s too late. Get your tickets and see more here.



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