NZ Opera

Madame Butterfly
Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini


Tickets to both Auckland and Wellington seasons of Madame Butterfly have Sold Out.

Culture Clash

Love and honour resonate with thunderous force in Puccini’s tender love story between a Japanese geisha and her naval officer as Japan opened up to the West and the 20th century.

One of the world’s best-loved operas, Puccini’s masterpiece contains many of the most recognisable tunes in opera, including the “Humming Chorus” and “One Fine Day”. This exquisite new production combines beauty with unflinching emotional honesty.

Discover why Cio-Cio San and her Lieutenant Pinkerton are among the world’s ten most-loved operatic couples.

The Cast

This new production stars Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran (who sang Mimi in La Bohème in 2008) in the title role with Italian tenor Piero Pretti as Pinkerton, and English baritone Peter Savidge as the American Consul Sharpless.

The Story

Fifteen-year-old Cio-Cio San (known as Butterfly) is enchanted by her handsome lover, who marries her and then leaves shortly after, returning to his homeland. Butterfly bears his child and faithfully waits for him to come back; but when he does, it is with his new American bride. Even the hard-hearted Pinkerton can’t face telling her that the marriage is over and she’s about to lose her son into the bargain.

Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
and Orchestra Wellington.

Featuring the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

A New Zealand Opera production



April 18—28

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

  • Thursday 18
  • Saturday 20
  • Wednesday 24
  • Friday 26
  • Sunday 28
Pre Show Talks

20, 24, 26 April 6.30pm; 28 April 1.30pm
Air New Zealand foyer, Level 5, Aotea Centre

Opera Exposed & Friends Night

24 April from 6.30pm

Audio Described Performance

28 April 2.30pm
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Discover more
Auckland Dress Rehearsal Attendance (Education)

Tuesday 16 April, 7.30pm, ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
To book your school group, click on Discover More


Discover more
Dinner Options - Auckland

Thanks to our restaurant partners and friends, we have some great pre-opera dining options for you.

In Auckland enjoy a superb two course meal and glass of wine at Hotel DeBrett’s award winning Kitchen Restaurant. Pre-Opera dinner packages are available at $45 per person (book now with Hotel DeBrett on 09 969 1545).

Our new friends at Kura Sake Bar have created a special Madame Butterfly cocktail, free to all Butterfly ticket holders with tickets valid for that night's show. Pop in before the show, grab a bite to eat and present your opera ticket for your free 'Cio-Cio's' cocktail.


May 11—18

St James Theatre

  • Saturday 11
  • Tuesday 14
  • Thursday 16
  • Saturday 18
Pre Show Talks

16, 18 May 6.30pm, 14 May 5pm
Hospitality Suite, 1st Floor Gallery, St James Theatre

Opera Exposed & Friends Night

14 May from 5pm

Audio Described Performance

14 May, 6pm
St James Theatre, Wellington
Book now through Ticketek, ph (04) 384 3842

Wellington Dress Rehearsal Attendance (Education)

Thursday 9 May, 7.30pm, St James Theatre
To book your school group, click on Discover More


Discover more
Dinner Options - Wellington

In our capital city, Wellington, enjoy a fabulous pre-Opera Bistro meal with the ever-wonderful Logan Brown Restaurant for $45.00 per person (book now with Logan Brown on 04 801 5114).


Auckland: Aotea Centre


0800 111 999 or 09 970 9700

Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Dr.
Mon — Fri. 9am — 5.30pm
Sat & Sun. 10am — 4pm

Buy Tickets

Wellington: St James Theatre


0800 842 538 or 04 384 3840

Michael Fowler Centre Box Office
111 Wakefield Street, Wellington
Mon to Fri: 9am — 5pm
Sat: 10am — 4pm

Buy Tickets

For me, it is the most demanding yet most beautiful soprano role ever created, marrying divine composition with heartbreaking drama.

Antoinette Halloran, Cio-Cio San

Ticket prices.
Seating Categories Single Ticket Price Groups 6—9 Groups 10+ Concession (save 10%)
C—Reserve $49.50 N/A N/A N/A
B—Reserve $74.50 $67.00 $67.00 N/A
A—Reserve $98.50 $88.50 $88.50 N/A
Silver $124.50 $112.00 $112.00 N/A
Gold $148.50 $133.50 $133.50 N/A
Premium $189.50 $170.50 $170.50 N/A
View seating map


Antoinette HalloranPiero Pretti Peter SavidgeLucy SchauferJames Benjamin RodgersRichard GreenBianca AndrewEdward LaurensonKieran Rayner

Antoinette Halloran Cio-Cio San

Piero Pretti Pinkerton

Peter Savidge Sharpless

Lucy Schaufer Suzuki

James Benjamin Rodgers Goro Read bio

Richard Green The Bonze

Bianca Andrew Kate Pinkerton

Edward Laurenson The Imperial Commissioner / The Official Registrar

Kieran Rayner The Imperial Commissioner / The Official Registrar

James Benjamin Rodgers

Proudly supported by The Mahar Charitable Trust.
Madama Butterfly, Christchurch 2015.

Background: Born in Wellington. B.Mus (Victoria University), Master of Music and Professional Studies Certificate (Manhattan School of Music). Merola Opera Program. Awards include the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Award (2010), Joy in Singing Competition (2008), Lotte Lenya Competition (2007), Wellington Rotary Scholarship, Marie D’Albini Scholarship, Bell Gully Travel Award, Sir Henry Cooper Memorial Scholarship in Music, Grants from the Lankhuyzen/Whetu Kairangi Masonic Trust and the Kurt Weill Foundation. Repertoire: Mark: Encounter by Mojiao Wang (Beijing Modern Music Festival); Thomas Kendall: This Other Eden (Arts Festival Dunedin); Aeneas: Dido and Aeneas (Opera on the Avalon, Newfoundland); Goro: Madama Butterfly (NZO); Tamino: Die Zauberflöte (Southern Opera); Jekyll & Hyde, Jean-Valjean: Les Miserables (Mac-Haydn Theater, NY); Bobby: Lillian Alling (The Banff Center); Marco Polo: Invisible Cities (Red Light New Music, NY); Albert Herring (Merola); Gastone: La traviata (Opera Omaha and Toledo Opera); Baker: Into the Woods, Sam: Street Scene (Manhattan School of Music). Concert repertoire: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Argento Ensemble, NY); Kurt Weill’s Four Walt Whitman Songs (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Symphonie Orchester, Dessau and Leipzig); Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra); Mahagonny Songspiel (Ravinia Festival); Kurt Weill’s Der Lindberghflug (Little Orchestra Society, NY); Recording: Exiled: The Evolution of Kurt Weill (2014).

James Benjamin Rodgers


Tobias RingborgKate CherryChristina SmithTaiaroa RoyalMatt Scott

Tobias Ringborg Conductor Read bio

Kate Cherry Director Read bio

Christina Smith Set & Costume Designer Read bio

Taiaroa Royal Movement Co-ordinator Read bio

Matt Scott Lighting Designer Read bio

Tobias Ringborg

Tobias Ringborg is one of the most prolific musical talents to emerge from Sweden in recent years. He is equally at home on the concert podium as a conductor and violinist, as well as in the opera house. His career started in 1994 when he, as a violinist, won the prestigious Swedish Soloist Prize. The same year he graduated with the highest honours from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and went on to study at the Juilliard School in New York, graduating in 1996.

As a violinist, Tobias Ringborg has appeared with every Swedish orchestra and has collaborated with conductors such as Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Neeme Järvi, Okko Kamu, Sakari Oramo, and Daniel Harding. International credits also include the first prize of the Concours International de Musique de Chimay in Belgium. He is an active champion of Swedish music, and his discography includes about twenty CD:s with chamber music and violin concertos, mostly by Swedish composers. In between operatic and orchestra engagements, Tobias Ringborg maintains an active career as a chamber musician. He plays a Niccolo Gagliano violin, on loan from the Järnåker foundation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

In 2000, Tobias Ringborg decided to expand his musical career after winning a conducting competition in Helsingborg, and has since conducted all Swedish and many Scandinavian orchestras. His lifelong passion for opera led to his operatic debut at the Stockholm Folkoperan in 2001, with Verdi’s La Traviata. In 2002 he began a two year association with the Malmö Opera, leading performances of a. o. Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and Verdi’s Otello. In 2001 he made his debut at the Stockholm Royal Opera with Puccini’s La Bohème, and has since then maintained a strong connection to that company, leading a.o. Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s Don Carlo and Rigoletto, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Tosca and Turandot.

Specializing in the Italian, French and Mozart repertoire, operatic activities include Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Turandot (televised in Sweden in 2005) at Norrlandsoperan in Umeå, Mozart’s Così fan tutte (directed by Peter Konwitschny) at Värmlandsoperan in Karlstad, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West and Mozart’s Idomeneo in Malmö, Turandot at Gothenburg Opera, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and J Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo, and Gounod’s Faust, Idomeneo and Don Giovanni at the Danish National Opera. In 2008 he conducted La Traviata for his German debut at Oper Leipzig, and in 2009 Così fan tutte for his British operatic debut at Scottish Opera, in an acclaimed production by David McVicar. He returned to Scotland for Rigoletto in 2011. At Opera North in Leeds he has conducted La Bohème and Don Giovanni. In 2013 he made his debut in the Southern hemisphere, leading Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for New Zealand Opera.

The symphonic repertoire he has explored with orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic (a.o. leading the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 2011), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Gothenburg, Malmö, Helsingborg and Norrköping (leading the orchestra’s 100th anniversary in 2012 with Beethoven’s Symphony no 9), Aarhus and Odense and the Copenhagen Philharmonic. In 2005, he made his London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican, both as conductor and soloist.

In 2010, Ringborg also conducted the world premiere recording of the 1849 belcanto masterpiece Cristina, Regina di Svezia, by Italian/Swedish composer Jacopo Foroni, with the forces of Gothenburg Opera (released by Sterling).

The 2013-2014 season offers L’Elisir d’amore at Gothenburg Opera, Verdi’s Macbeth at Opera North, Verdi’s Requiem with Dalasinfoniettan/Västerås Sinfonietta, concerts with the Orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera and the orchestras of Helsingborg, Aarhus and Kristiansand. In 2014-2015 he conducts Rossini’s Le comte Ory at Malmö Opera, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at Norrlandsoperan and Verdi’s Il trovatore at Scottish Opera, as well as concerts and recordings with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestra of Opera North, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and Dalasinfoniettan, where he in 2015 finishes a three-year term as Principal conductor and Artistic advisor.

In 2010 Tobias Ringborg was awarded the Herbert Blomstedt Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and in 2011 he was elected a member of that academy (founded in 1771 by King Gustavus III).

Tobias Ringborg

Kate Cherry

Background: Born in Melbourne. Currently Artistic Director of Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directing credits: Glengarry Glen Ross, Dinner, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Seagull, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Importance of Being Earnest (BSSTC); La traviata, (NZO, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland); Madame Butterfly (NZO); Signs of Life (BSSTC, Sydney Theatre Company); Arcadia, The White Divers of Broome, Rising Water (BSSTC, Melbourne Theatre Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Boundary Street, (BSSTC, Perth International Arts Festival, Brisbane International Arts Festival); Other Desert Cities, Madagascar, Much Ado About Nothing, The Glass Menagerie, The Year of Magical Thinking, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, (BSSTC/Queensland Theatre Company); The Swimming Club (BSSTC /MTC);The Turn of the Screw, The Coronation of Poppea, Brundibar (Victorian Opera); The Female of the Species (Queensland Theatre Company); All My Sons, The Clean House (MTC). Associate Director credits: Take Me Out, Honour, The Glass Menagerie, Humble Boy, The Goat or Who is Sylvia?, Cloud Nine, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Duchess of Malfi, Three Days of Rain, Betrayal, Death of a Salesman, Art and Soul, Life After George Burnt Piano, The Woman in the Window (MTC); The Sick Room (Playbox Theatre Company); The Marriage of Figaro, Spring Awakening (WAAPA); Romeo and Juliet (American Conservatory Theatre); Cymbeline, Pericles (Shakespeare and Company).

Kate Cherry

Christina Smith

Background: Born in Australia. Has worked as a set and costume designer throughout Australia since graduating from WAAPA in 1995. Won the 2005 Green Room Award for Theatre Design for Honour, Daylight Atheist (MTC) and Julia 3 (Playbox), having been several times nominated for the same award. Other design projects include the scenic elements for the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI, the renovation of the Circa Theatrette installation at the National Museum of Australia, and the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies as part of the design team. Opera and theatre credits: La traviata (NZO, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland) Madame Butterfly (NZO);The Flying Dutchman, Marriage of Figaro (costumes), The Magic Flute (costumes), The Turn of the Screw, Così fan tutte (Victorian Opera); Elling, National Interest, Clybourne Park, A Behanding In Spokane, Boston Marriage, Realism (costumes) Blackbird, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, Clean House, Things We Do For Love, The Daylight Atheist and Honour (Melbourne Theatre Company); A Streetcar Named Desire, Other Desert Cities, Rising Water, The Year Of Magical Thinking (Black Swan State Theatre Company); Porn.Cake, Black Medea (Malthouse), Troupers (Sydney Theatre Company); Mother Courage and her Children (Queensland Theatre Company); Marriage of Figaro (costumes), The Magic Flute (costumes), The Turn of the Screw, Così fan tutte (Victorian Opera); Personal Best (costumes) (Australian Ballet), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Bell Shakespeare Company); Ruby Moon, Inside 01 (Playbox).

Christina Smith

Taiaroa Royal

Background Born in Rotorua. Graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 1984 with a Diploma in Dance. Has worked with many major dance and theatre companies in New Zealand including the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Limbs Dance Company, Douglas Wright Dance Company, Human Garden, Origins, Commotion, Black Grace, Atamira Dance Company, New Zealand Opera and Auckland Theatre Company. Has taught at the main dance training institutes in NZ along with many of the community’s private dance schools. Founded Okareka Dance Company with Taane Mete in 2007, which has since established itself as one of the leading Maori contemporary dance companies in Aotearoa. Recipient of the Te Tohu Toi Ke – Te Waka Toi Award, the Koowhiti Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2010 the Tempo Dance Festival celebrated his career in their Honouring a Dancer evening. Dance credits include A Retrospective Tour, Maui – One Man Against the Gods (Commotion); The Montana World of Wearable Arts, the Waitakere Trash to Fashion Awards; Black Milk (Douglas Wright Dance Company); Glory Hole – A Queer Multimedia Flesh Circus (Circle Jerk Productions). Choreographer credits include The World of Wearable Arts (South Pacific section), Tama Ma (Okareka Dance Company, Strut Festival: Perth, Brisbane, Cincinnati, Beijing, Adelaide).

Taiaroa Royal

Matt Scott

Background: Born in Canberra. Has worked as lighting designer for all of Australia’s leading performing arts companies including Queensland Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Company B Belvoir and Bell Shakespeare. Has twice received the Helpmann award for lighting. Opera and theatre credits: Madame Butterfly (NZO); La Traviata (NZO, State Opera of South Australia & Opera Queensland); The Flying Dutchman, The Riders, Nixon In China, The Rake’s Progress, Baroque Triple Bill, The Turn of the Screw, Xerxes, Orphée et Eurydice (Victorian Opera); Aida (Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour); Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, La Sonnambula (Opera Australia); Anything Goes (Opera Australia/Gordon Frost Organisation); La bohème (Opera Australia, West Australia Opera, Opera Queensland); La Cenerentola, Così fan tutte (Opera Queensland); The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Madame Butterfly (OzOpera); Eat, Pray, Laugh- Barry Humphries Farewell Tour (Dainty Group); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (TML Enterprises); Jumpy (Melbourne Theatre Company & Sydney Theatre Company); The Mountaintop, Elling, His Girl Friday, Red, The Seed, Tribes, The Importance of Being Earnest, Clybourne Park, A Behanding in Spokane (Melbourne Theatre Company); The Red Shoes, Where The Heart Is (Expressions Dance Company); Elegance (Queensland Ballet); Henry IV, Much Ado About Nothing (Bell Shakespeare); A Streetcar Named Desire, Rising Water, The Year of Magical Thinking (Black Swan State Theatre Company).

Matt Scott

Press Releases
Call for Auditions - Auckland
Call for Auditions - Wellington
New Zealand Opera releases a beautiful Butterfly
Opera star returns as Butterfly