Watersmeet shows new English version of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

12th February 2020

On 6 March, Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose in association with the Belgrade Theatre presents a new English version of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at Watersmeet, Rickmansworth on 6 March 2020.   

Reimagined from a female, East-Asian perspective, this Madam Butterfly transposes Puccini’s tragic heroine to the 1980s, a fascinating time of transition for Japan where traditional culture collides with a new digital age, and the intimate exploration into the heart and mind of a young woman is all the more poignant. 

Librettist and director Poppy Burton-Morgan is celebrated across a variety of forms, including musical theatre and opera (recently: Roles V&A, In the Willows Exeter Northcott), and is the Artistic Director of the midscale UK touring company Metta Theatre. 

Together with composer Ruth Chan (Royal Shakespeare Company’s Snow in Midsummer) and set and costume designer Cindy Lin (2015 Linbury Prize Finalist), Poppy has re-shaped the outdated values of Madam Butterfly, whilst preserving the living truth of the original story.   

This new version will be performed by a diverse cast of eight singers (some double-cast) and four instrumentalists in Ruth Chan’s new orchestration for keyboard, shakuhachi, flute, cello and viola.  

Cllr Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, said: “This is a vibrant, living art form that everyone can enjoy and maybe inspired by. Come along and enjoy the unique interpretation of a classic opera.” 

Madam Butterfly is OperaUpClose’s 30th production and follows the company’s 10th Anniversary Season, which saw the revival of their Olivier Award-winning La Bohème, a site-specific tour of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and their first opera for 3-5-year-olds based on Jill Murphy’s Peace At Last