Anthony Minghella’s award-winning staging of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly returns to the London Coliseum

26th February 2020 in Press

Opens Wednesday 26 February at the London Coliseum (12 performances)

Anthony Minghella’s ‘ravishingly beautiful’ (The Times) production of Madam Butterfly returns to the Coliseum. Premiered 15 years ago at English National Opera (ENO) and now onto its seventh revival, this popular production is back to entrance audiences with its mix of stunning cinematic imagery, traditional Japanese theatre and Puccini’s powerful music.

Puccini’s Madam Butterfly is one of opera’s most enduring tales of unrequited love; the story of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese girl, who falls for U.S. naval officer Pinkerton stationed in Nagasaki. Pinkerton, interested in convenience and loose marital laws, pays for an arranged marriage to her. After marrying, Pinkerton leaves for America before the birth of their son, leaving Cio-Cio San for years to raise the child with just the promise of his return.

Created by ENO in 2005, a century after its original world premiere, Anthony Minghella’s production of Madam Butterfly was the first and only opera he directed. The production went on to win the Olivier Award for ‘Best New Opera Production’ and in addition to ENO revivals, has been performed around the world, including at the Metropolitan Opera, Lithuanian National Opera and Perth International Festival.

Leading the cast in the title role of Cio-Cio San is Natalya Romaniw, who returns to ENO after her ‘standout performance’ (the Guardian) as Mimi in La bohème (2018). Hailed as one of Europe’s most promising young stars and ‘one of the most outstanding sopranos of her generation’ (Daily Telegraph), Natalya has performed across the UK, winning multiple awards including the 2016 Critic’s Choice Award for Music. This is her role debut as Madam Butterfly.

Sharing the role of Pinkerton is American tenor Dimitri Pittas, ‘with a flexible voice that can express real love and shallow desire with equal conviction’ (Toronto Star) and British tenor Adam Smith, ‘a sensation’ (Opera Online). Both are making their ENO debuts.

Baritone Roderick Williams OBE sings the role of Sharpless, following his Olivier nominated performance in ENO’s 2018 War Requiem. Having ‘beautifully sung’ (Bachtrack) the role of Sharpless previously in 2016, former ENO Harewood George von Bergen returns to the Coliseum for one performance.

Mezzo soprano Stephanie Windsor-Lewis with her ‘excellently strong voice’ (Daily Express) returns to the role of Suzuki, while tenor Alasdair Elliott resurrects his ‘brilliantly enunciated Goro’ (The Stage), which he performed with the Royal Opera House more than a decade ago.

Bass baritone Keel Watson is The Bonze, following his recent performances in ENO’s Carmen (2020), Orpheus in the Underworld (2019) and Akhnaten (2019).

Prince Yamnadori is baritone Njabulo Madlala after making his debut at ENO in Porgy and Bess (2018).

Completing the cast is rising star and ENO Harewood Katie Stevenson who returns after performances last year with ENO in Akhnaten, The Magic Flute and The Mask of Orpheus. Katie has previously won all three prizes at the Wagner Society Singing Competition and the 2016 Marjorie Thomas Art of Song prize.

Conducting this revival with his ‘exemplary fervour’ (Bachtrack) is ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins, with ENO Head of Music Martin Fitzpatrick taking over the baton for three performances.

Glen Sheppard directs this revival, with set design by Michael Levine, costumes by Chinese costume designer Han Feng and revival choreography by David John. Puppeteers at Blind Summit Theatre return to bring Butterfly’s child, Sorrow, to life. Lighting design is by Peter Mumford and translation by David Parry.

Madam Butterfly opens on Wednesday 26 February 19.30 at the London Coliseum for 12 performances: 26 February, 5, 11, 13, 20, 27, 30 March & 17 April at 19.30. 29 February, 7 March, 4 & 7 April at 18.30.

Tickets start from £10 (plus booking fee)*

*£2.25 booking fee applies to online and telephone bookings

Co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Lithuanian National Opera




Notes to Editors:

The Press Officer for this production is Isabelle Stocker –

About English National Opera

English National Opera is the national opera company dedicated to one simple aim: making opera for everyone. We sing in English to be as accessible to the widest possible audience, as well as offering tickets for as little as ten pounds and we create opera that feels different, more theatrical and creatively daring. We’ve been doing this to an internationally recognised standard since being founded in 1931 as Sadler’s Wells Opera.

We are determined to open up the genre: nearly half of our audiences in the 2018/19 season were first-time bookers and this season more than 10% of our bookings have been by under 30’s. Our learning and participation programme ENO Baylis has touched the lives of more than 15,000 school children and community groups, and we have brought opera into schools, allowing more than 5000 schoolchildren from schools with a higher than average black or minority ethnic (BAME) background representation to experience opera. Our talent development programme continues to nurture the careers of singers (the ENO Harewood Artist programme) and of conductors (the Charles Mackerras Fellowship). We also give free tickets to Under 18s in our balcony for opening nights, Friday and Saturday performances.

Last season, the proportion of our audience with a BAME background increased from 4% to 10%. In January of last year, we announced that we would be recruiting four new members of our Chorus from a BAME background, as well as four BAME Director Observerships. This year, we announced that we will also be recruiting five new BAME string players to continue working towards our aim of making the opera industry more accessible and representative of the society in which we live.

Our ongoing support and development of British talent meant 80% of the cast in the 2017-18 season were British or British trained. That’s important to us and is fundamental to our ethos of giving new talent their break.

ENO is about opera for everyone.

Madam Butterfly

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Director, Anthony Minghella
Revival Director, Glen Sheppard
Conductors, Martyn Brabbins and Martin Fitzpatrick


Cio-Cio San Natalya Romaniw
Pinkerton Dimitri Pittas, Adam Smith (Mar 20, Apr 4, 7, 17)
Sharpless Roderick Williams, George von Bergen (Apr 17)
Suzuki Stephanie Windsor-Lewis
Goro Alasdair Elliott
The Bonze Keel Watson
Prince Yamnadori Njabulo Madlala
Kate Pinkerton Katie Stevenson *