Madame Butterfly is coming to Armidale!

This August, Opera Australia brings John Bell’s highly acclaimed production of Puccini’s classic Madame Butterfly to Armidale.

Directed by one of Australia’s greatest theatrical minds, this year’s production features 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 part 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’, which is performed with an 11-piece chamber orchestra conducted by Warwick Stengårds.

NECOM CEO, Russ Bauer, said that for lovers of grand opera, there is nothing on the scale of Butterfly, for drama and heartbreak. It’s exciting to be able to introduce our young chorus members to one of Puccini’s most renowned works. Armidale audiences will once again be treated to a first-class presentation by Australia’s leading opera company.

Opera Australia’s national performances not only provide an opportunity for residents of Armidale to attend the opera, but also for younger locals to become involved in the production through the Children’s Chorus program.

Children’s Chorus conductor Leanne Roobol noted, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our talented young singers from NECOM’s choral program, it will be the night of their lives. As the Children’s Chorus they will be sharing the spotlight with some of Australia’s finest opera singers when they join the cast to perform onstage in Madame Butterfly.”

Over the last four years, Opera Australia has had more than 1,500 children involved in Children’s Choruses across the country and that number is set to grow even higher this year. Under the direction of Regional Children’s Chorus Master Joshua van Konkelenberg, the children are selected by local choir leaders and learn the music from Madame Butterfly before donning costumes and joining the OA artists on stage as part a performing troupe from the world’s third-busiest opera company.

Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini is passionate about introducing opera to new audiences and offering Australians across the country the chance to experience opera performances by Australia’s national opera company.

“We are thrilled to be bringing this captivating production of Madame Butterfly to audiences this year,” said Mr Terracini. “It is a privilege to have such a high calibre cast and artistic team at the helm, including some of our best local and international artists, as well as internationally acclaimed conductor Warwick Stengårds who joins us from Vienna, and the iconic John Bell. This show will absolutely blow audiences away.”

Madame Butterfly will be held at Lazenby Hall, 7:30pm, Thursday 9 August. 
Tickets are available from