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  1. The cast of Madama Butterfly gather in front of Sydney Harbour
    Photograph: Supplied/Opera Australia
  2. Fireworks over Sydney Harbour
    Photograph: Supplied/Opera Australia

Experience an unforgettable night at Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour

Opera Australia is serving up the perpetually popular Puccini work in a dazzling harbour setting

By Ashleigh Hastings for Time Out in association with Opera Australia

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has been creating spectacular operatic experiences in the great outdoors since 2012, and this year’s offering will be no exception in a series of spine-tingling productions. 

It’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of people have witnessed HOSH productions over the years. Why? You don’t exactly need to be an opera buff to appreciate the grandeur of an opera performed on a floating stage, with the glittering city skyline providing an extended backdrop. 

Who would have thought so many people would end up revelling in the experience of opera outside the Sydney Opera House, instead of within its purpose-built walls? However, when you take into account the expansive view of the night sky and the fact that there are fireworks every night, the appeal of an adventurous night out under the stars is alluring indeed.

After a record-breakingly successful run back in 2014, Madama Butterfly will return to the harbour stage from March 24 until April 23. Nine years on from the initial harbour run and more than a hundred years since Puccini composed the opera, theatregoers will take in a heartbreaking story with social relevance that continues to resonate in a contemporary context. 

Madama Butterfly follows the story of Cio-Cio San, a geisha who falls for and subsequently marries an American naval officer, only to be ruthlessly abandoned when he decides to return to the United States to find a ‘real American wife’. This tragic East-meets-West tale is an ode to unrequited love that will stay with you long after you leave the quay.

There are pop-up bars and eateries scattered across the whole site, but those looking to elevate their experience can enjoy premium pop-up dining at the HSBC Platinum Club, an undercover restaurant and bar with impressive Sydney Harbour views. The pre-performance dinner package includes either two or three courses expertly matched with premium NSW wines, and booking in is as simple as adding the package to your ticket purchase.

Given the success of previous Handa Opera seasons, you’ll want to secure tickets soon to avoid disappointment. Thankfully, it’s easy to book online.

Learn more about Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour and book your tickets online here.

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