Opera Australia’s National Tour celebrates 600 performances with Madame Butterfly

OA Madame Butterfly NT AARAustralia’s national opera company will mark its 600th National Tour performance with the John Bell’s highly acclaimed production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at The Drum Theatre, Dandenong on Friday 13 July 2018.

Now in its 22nd year, the Opera Australia’s national performances have become a celebrated fixture in the Company’s performance calendar. Since 1996 it has presented fully-staged operas adorned with beautiful costumes, lighting and sets, featuring an array of talented singers and musicians, to more than 260,000 people and has covered more than 280,000kms during that time.

The success of the tour, with growing audiences and new locations added to the program each year, is attributed to the high calibre of performers and artistic teams, led this year by internationally-renowned conductor Warwick Stengårds.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating this extraordinary milestone of 600 performances with John Bell’s unforgettable production of Madame Butterfly,” said Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini. “It is a privilege to have such a high calibre cast and artistic team at the helm, including some of the best local and international artists, internationally acclaimed conductor Warwick Stengårds, and of course the iconic John Bell. This show will absolutely blow audiences away.”

This year’s production of Madame Butterfly by one of Australia’s greatest theatrical minds, the masterful director, John Bell, will feature some of Opera Australia’s finest singers. Chinese-born Sharon Zhai will make her Opera Australia debut in the role of Cio-Cio-San, also known as Madame Butterfly, which she will share with rising star, Danita Weatherstone. Matthew Reardon will also make his OA debut as Pinkerton, a Lieutenant in the U.S Navy, and will share the character with Martin Buckingham who reprises the role with OA.

Regarded as the world’s most popular opera and the inspiration for the musical Miss Saigon – Madame Butterfly tells the tale of two lovers, separated between culture, oceans and time. The vibrant visual display of the production is coloured further by Puccini’s magnificent score, including the famous Humming Chorus and heartbreaking One Fine Day – all performed with an 11-piece chamber orchestra.

The 10-week tour will visit regional and metropolitan locations across four states – Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Tasmania – giving 33 performances in 27 towns, including Wyong, Horsham and Yarram, which have never before featured on the tour circuit.

The National Tour also provides an opportunity for local children to get involved with the production through the Regional Children’s Chorus program. The program offers hundreds of youngsters the chance to rehearse and perform with the world’s third-busiest opera company.

The children are chosen by local choir leaders in each tour location, and learn the music from Madame Butterfly before donning costumes and joining the OA artists on stage as part of the performance. Opera Australia’s touring productions are designed to captivate audiences of all ages, sung in English using modern translations.

Opera Australia’s National Touring production of Madame Butterfly commences at The Drum Theatre, Dandenong on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 July 2018. For more information and complete touring schedule, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Madame Butterfly – courtesy of Opera Australia