Madam Butterfly - returns to the Royal Albert Hall


MADAM BUTTERFLY, Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece of doomed love and tragic passion, will play a limited run at the Royal Albert Hall, beginning on 26 February 2015. David Freeman will direct, reviving his Japanese water garden production, designed by David Roger.

The opera will be sung in English, using the acclaimed translation by Amanda Holden. The cast will be accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Gooch.

The role of the young Japanese bride, Cio Cio San will be shared by Nam-Young Kim, Hyeseoung Kwon and Myung-Joo Lee, opposite Jeffrey Gwaltney, James Edwards and Mario Sofroniou in the role of American naval lieutenant, Pinkerton.  Sabina Kim, Catherine Hopper and Marcia Bellamy,and will play Suzuki, with David Kempster, Wyn Pencarreg and James Cleverton as Sharpless. 

The role of The Bonze will be played by Michael DruiettJulius Ahn will play Goro with Seungwook Seong as Yamadori, Lise Christensen as Kate Pinkerton, Freddie Tong as Imperial Commissioner and Richard Suart as the Registrar.

No opera can match the tragedy and sorrow of MADAM BUTTERFLY.  Set in Japan at the turn of the century, this tale of the doomed loved of an American naval lieutenant and his young Japanese bride inspired Puccini to write some of his most sublime and beautiful music. 

From the magnificent love duet which closes the first act to Butterfly’s celebrated solo One Fine Day, Puccini’s ravishing score skilfully weaves together the differences in attitudes and styles of East and West.  The production follows the unfolding action where passion and hope collide with despair and ultimate tragedy. 

 Staged in-the-round, this production transforms the iconic Royal Albert Hall into Japan in 1907.  Once more the floor of the Royal Albert Hall will be flooded to create David Roger’s stunning design where Madam Butterfly’s house is perched on stilts above the shimmering surface of a traditional Japanese water garden.

 David Freeman is an internationally recognised director of opera and theatre.  He founded the Opera Factory in London in 1981, under the auspices of ENO, which was the resident company at the South Bank Centre.  Recent engagements include Gaddafi (English National Opera), Wozzeck (La Monnaie), Vivaldi’s La Verita in Cimento and L’Incoronazione di Dario (Garsington Opera), Serse  (Iford Festival Opera), the world premiere of Cyrano er Roxanne, with text by Jean-Claude Carriere and music by Stavros Xaharkos, as a French-Greek co-production in Athens and Compiegne, and Carmen (O2 Arena, London). He also directed the Bollywood musical Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince.

 A designer for opera, theatre, dance, film and television, David Roger has mounted productions in opera houses worldwide.  David founded the Opera Factory with David Freeman and together they have worked on Madam Butterfly, Aida and Tosca for Raymond Gubbay. In 2012 David won the BAFTA for Production Design for his work on Great Expectations (BBC), his other TV credits include The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Persuasion and Vera

 Oliver Gooch, musical director, is a graduate of the Royal Opera House’s prestigious Young Artist programme and has collaborated with opera companies in North America, Europe and Australia.  He made his USA debut in 2008 with Conrad Susa’s Dangerous Liasons (Dicapo Opera) and his Italian debut was in 2010 with Don Giovanni (AsLico).  His Australian debut followed in 2013 with Royal Opera House in Tasmania.  He was recently nominated for a South Bank Award for Heart of Darkness (Royal Opera House).  For Raymond Gubbay, Oliver is Musical Director of Madam Butterfly and La Bohème (Royal Albert Hall).


 Press night will be held on 26 February 2015

 For further information please contact Stephen Pidcock at The Corner Shop PR on 020 7831 7657 or email



By Giacomo Puccini

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP

Thursday 26 February – Sunday 15 March 2015

David Freeman director

Oliver Gooch musical director

David Roger set design

Andrew Bridge lighting design

Bobby Aitken sound design

Amanda Holden English translation

Box Office

Phone 020 7838 3100


Booking fees apply except to personal visitors at the Box Office.

Tickets from £24.43

Group rates for 10+ are also available on Tuesday – Thursday performances, please contact the Box Office for details

Mid-week matinee – Thursday 5th March

Audio-described matinee performance– Saturday 14th March


Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 390 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state-of-the-art small-scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music for Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. The Hall is also a Strategic and Creative Partner for the Tri-borough Music Service, recognised as one of the country’s leading music education hubs appointed by the Arts Council.

For more information, please visit

Registered charity number: 254543

Raymond Gubbay

Now in its 47th year, Raymond Gubbay presents a wide range of concerts, opera and ballet in major venues in London and across the country and is established as one of the leading promoters of popular classical music in the United Kingdom.  Following on from our previous co-productions, we are delighted to be presenting Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall. /