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Welsh National Opera will perform Madam Butterfly for the 200th time on Wednesday 11 November, at the Bristol Hippodrome.
The milestone comes 31 years after the premiere of Joachim Hertz’s version, at the New Theatre in Cardiff. The production was groundbreaking in its use of an extraordinarily detailed set and stage blood, which was created by a secret recipe. NatWest Bank contributed £15,000 to fund it, WNO’s first sponsor. It was first performed in Bristol in the autumn season of 1979.
Now Hertz’s production, dubbed ‘the most important Puccini production in Britain for many years’ by the Financial Times when it opened, will be performed once more in Bristol, where the new pricing structure means you can see it for as little as £7.50.
Madam Butterfly is thought to have been Puccini’s favourite of his operas. Based on a short story by John Luther Long, it has gone on to inspire the musical Miss Saigon, the play M Butterfly, which starred Anthony Hopkins, and subsequent film starring Jeremy Irons, and more recently Rogue Theatre’s Pathway to the Red Sun.