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Opera Queensland

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1. Where are the butterflies? 

Cio-Cio-San, the main character in Madama Butterfly, means butterfly in Japanese.

Star Spangled Banner

2. Red, white and blue

The Star-Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, is littered throughout the opera. Keep an ear out.

3. Sound familiar?

Bring Him Home from Les Miserables is very similar to Humming Chorus in Act 2 of Madama Butterfly. Les Miserables is well known for being heavily influenced by Puccini’s work. Can you hear the similarity?


4. His name is what?!

Cio-Cio San’s son is named Sorrow… still not as bad as Apple.

Puccini Smoking

5. Ain’t nothing better

Puccini was a lifetime chain-smokier of Toscano cigars.

Butterfly True Story

6. Who would have thought

The opera Madama Butterfly was derived in part from the short story ‘Madame Butterfly’ written by John Luther Long in 1898 and is said to be loosely based on a true story.

Miss Saigon

7. Haven’t I seen this before?

Miss Saigon is directly based on the story of Madama Butterfly.


8. Opera meets punk rock

The Sex Pistols released a techno single entitled Madama Butterfly which features vocals of both Pinkerton and Cio-Cio-San.

Puccini Car

9. Music, women and…cars?

In addition to music and women, Puccini had a great passion for cars and was responsible for the construction of the first Italian off-road vehicle.

10. Déjà vu

The blockbuster film Fatal Attraction starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close makes several references to Madama Butterfly with the soundtrack featuring extracts from the opera. The alternate ending of the film shows Alex committing suicide in an identical fashion as Cio-Cio-San while Un bel dì plays in the background.

Experience Madama Butterfly this May at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC – 5 shows only!

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