One of the world’s most spectacular outdoor events, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, will return next year with a modern retelling of Puccini’s tale of love and honour, Madama Butterfly, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris, has announced.
The production will include an enormous full moon, a dynamic moving set and dazzling fireworks bursting against Sydney’s stunning Harbour night vista and will open on 21 March 2014 for an exclusive three-week season, playing nightly on the magnificent stage at Fleet Steps in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
“Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is a key cultural event on the NSW Events Calendar, and the NSW Government is proud to support such events,” Mr Souris said.
“Madama Butterfly is one of opera’s timeless classics, revered by opera enthusiasts the world over. While retaining the grace and beauty of the traditional production, the contemporary styling of this version, with modern costumes and innovative set designs will connect the production with today’s world and attract a new generation to opera.
“Following on from the enormously successful productions of La Traviata in 2012 and Carmen in 2013, Madama Butterfly is a fitting ‘third act’ to Opera Australia’s objective of delivering three seasons of the greatest operas ever written.
“I congratulate Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini who has again assembled a world class creative team and cast for Madama Butterfly, including internationally renowned director Alex Ollé, one of the six artistic directors of La Fura dels Baus, which is one of the most innovative and prestigious theatre companies in the world. He is fresh from a great success directing Aida at the famous Arena in Verona.
“Cast in the lead role as Cio-Cio-San is Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura, who is known as ‘the Butterfly of today’. She returns to Sydney after great success in the title role at Sydney Opera House in 2012. Alternating in the role will be celebrated Korean soprano Hyeseoung Kwon, performing in Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle.
“International tenors Georgy Vasiliev and Andeka Gorrotxategi will make their Australian debuts as they alternate as Pinkerton, the American naval officer who romances Madama Butterfly.
Mr Souris said the forthcoming season of Madama Butterfly would build on the successes of Carmen and La Traviata and would reinforce the fact that Sydney is Australia’s global events city and home of the performing arts.
“Madama Butterfly will attract huge levels of interest, showcasing our creative talent to both local and international audiences and resulting in greater visitations to Sydney.
“Since 2012, it is estimated that Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has attracted more than 11,000 overseas and interstate visitors who came to NSW specifically to see the opera, generating at least $10 million in direct visitor impact to the State.
“Destination NSW expects the economic impact to be worth about $20 million to the NSW economy throughout Madama Butterfly’s season.
“Investing in exclusive events that have such bold vision is a key priority for the NSW Government. Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said: “La Fura Dels Baus is a creative powerhouse and we are thrilled with the spectacular new production their team is bringing for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s Madama Butterfly.
“We have some superb international singers joining us here in Sydney for what has become the cultural event of the year and we are very appreciative of the support of the NSW Government and Destination NSW in helping us deliver this in 2014. We also thank Dr Haruhisa Handa’s organisation, the International Federation for Arts and Culture, for its generous investment in our vision for an opera event like no other.”