By Bryce Hallett
Madama Butterfly has attracted the highest attendance figures since Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour began in 2012. More than 42,500 came to the 20-performance season at Mrs Macquaries Point. Of that number, about half were opera first-timers.
The acclaimed outdoor epic generated strong word-of-mouth on social media. The comments posted ranged from “extraordinary accomplishment” (Monica Attard via Twitter) to “wow, blown away …” (Jason Dawson via Twitter).
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said that Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour had become an iconic cultural event for Sydney.
“The rise in attendance figures clearly shows there is an appetite. …It’s gratifying to see how much audiences have enjoyed this stunning season, and that they are voting with their feet! Congratulations to director Àlex Ollé and the entire creative team of La Fura Dels Baus, and our magnificent singers, who together have made Madama Butterfly such a big success.”
Terracini revealed that this year’s event had fulfilled his long-held goal of reaching a broad audience and breaking down stereotypes about who actually goes to the opera.
“Madama Butterfly is everything I wanted it to be. We pushed the boundaries further this year in terms of artistic innovation. We wanted to make the production more narrative-driven and not just spectacle-driven … What we achieved was a combination of both but the work had depth and it had meaning for today’s audiences.”
After the final performance, it was announced that future funding has been confirmed by Destination NSW and Dr Haruhisa Handa
Dr Handa said he was delighted to have played a role in bringing the artistic director’s vision to fruition. “Opera Australia has brought a magical new opera event to Sydney – one that the city should be very proud of … I look forward to our continued partnership.”
Lyndon Terracini said Opera Australia was grateful for Dr Handa’s ongoing commitment and support. “There are never any guarantees – it’s not as though there’s a money tree – and having such a generous partner can never be taken for granted.”
Praised by critics and the public alike, Madama Butterfly has been filmed for cinema, TV and DVD release. We look forward to announcing the cinema and DVD release later this year, as well as screening on ABC TV later down the track.