It was a beautiful night under the stars at Mrs Macquaries Point for the opening night festivities around, and the performance of, Madama Butterfly.
The story is one of an American visiting Japan – Mr Pinkerton – who takes a shine to 15 year old local girl Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly). Pinkerton tells his confidant Sharpless that the marriage is purely of convenience, and that he intends to take an American bride as soon as feasible. However, Butterfly is in love with Pinkerton, and despite her friend Suzuki’s warning, her loyalty is steadfast. After an extended absence, Pinkerton returns to Japan where love and heartache unfold. And that’s when we cried. It is an emotional story, and Hiromi Omura took us on a journey into Madama Butterfly’s world. Beautifully done, attendees were quick to their feet to give the cast and orchestra a well-deserved standing ovation.
Madama Butterfly is the most spectacular Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production yet, with this year’s show having a distinctly modern feel e.g. American naval officer Pinkerton is represented as a property developer, and Madama Butterfly has a full-body tattoo. The stage has grown to a 44m x 29m performance space. The stage itself is undulating to mimic the hills of Japan and features a full bamboo garden (made locally in Australia). For the first time, the stage is designed to become an extension of the Harbour surrounds itself. The show features two inflatable orbs to represent the sun (12m diameter) and the moon (6m diameter). The sun orb has its own barge to give the impression it is rising from the Harbour. Every performance features fireworks.
Pre show, VIP guests sipped on Tyrell’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay at the Adina Garden Bar.
The post show events were held at the Southern and Northern Terraces. The Southern Terrace featured stylish celebrities such as Editor-in-chief of Belle magazine, lifestyle commentator and judge on Nine’s reality TV show The Block Neale Whitaker, singer Marcia Hines, MasterChef season one winner and author Julie Goodwin, TV presenter and author, and winner of MasterChef Australia 2010 Adam Liaw.
Other stylish celebrities in attendance included The Premier of NSW Barry O’Farrell, Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne, April Rose Pengilly, Bob Hawke and Blanch D’Alpuget, Carla Zampatti, The Block judge Darren Palmer, Dr Katrina Warren, Home & Away’s Emily Symons, Kyle Pryor, Demi Harman, and Lincoln Younes, George Souris MP, Georgie Gardner, Hayley Hasselhoff, Ian Dickson, Ita Buttrose, Jessica Tovey, actor Peter Phelps and Day’s of Our Lives Shawn Christian, Lisa McCune, 2DayFM’s Tim Davies, and Mix 106.5’s Yumi Stynes.
It was a fantastic night out that will be remembered for many years to come.