Review: Opera North’s Madama Butterfly Arrives at The Lowry, Manchester *

Madama Butterfly part of a trio of powerful Italian blockbusters is bringing desire, betrayal and revenge to The Lowry in Manchester for two nights only thanks to the award-winning opera company Opera North.  The play touches on many levels of emotions showcasing a deeply poignant tale of love and betrayal.  Madama Butterfly is an iconic example of Puccini’s dramatic genius.


The story evolves around a young Japanese girl, Cio-Cio-San who falls in love with, and marries, a U.S. naval officer, only to be cruelly deserted by him when he returns to his homeland. Together with Pinkerton’s child and her maid Suzuki, she patiently awaits his return, not realising that her husband has taken an American wife in the intervening years.


Madama Butterfly is a tender story of innocent love crushed amidst two utterly different cultures, which resonates as strongly as ever in today’s world. With its exquisitely simple set and costumes, this emotionally direct and subtle production by Tim Albery is devastating in its impact, as Butterfly’s dawning realisation of the harsh reality of her circumstances leads inexorably to a final act of despair.  French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels has won widespread praise in this production in the role of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese woman who sacrifices everything to marry a U.S. Naval Officer, yet is cruelly discarded when he returns to his ‘real’ life in America. She is joined for this revival by Lithuanian tenor Merūnas Vitulskis, making his UK and Opera North debut as Pinkerton.


What we thought of the show?

The performance was magical from the start – it started with most of the cast in traditional kimonos.  The sets were beautiful but simple and yet so effective in giving the right amount of depth and atmosphere to the stage.  Anne Sophie Duprels who plays Madama Butterfly was able to really captivate the audience and her voice was flawless.  Merunas Vitulskis who played the American character Mr Pickerton clearly identified in his white navy style uniform. He was so likeable to begin with but his abandonment of Coi-Coi-San managed to ensure the audiences disapproval towards him. We have to acknowledge that the orchestra were something else! At points we had to remind ourselves it was live as the quality was amazing.  Although the venue was great, there were a couple of occurrences where we wanted the performance to get going as the seat was uncomfortable. Nevertheless we enjoyed the great cinematic style composition of the characters on the stage and would definitely recommend you catching the show.
Here are the list of talented cast being featured in the play
Cio-Cio-San – Anne Sophie Duprels
Pinkerton – Merunas Vitulskis
Sharpless – Peter Savidge
Suzuki – Ann Taylor
Goro – Joseph Shovelton
Kate Pinkerton – Katie Bird
Bonze – Dean Robinson
Prince Yamadori – Christopher Nairne

When is Madama Butterfly being performed?
Tuesday, 6 March & Thursday, 8 March

Where will the performance be held?
The Lyric Theatre
Pier 8
The Quays
M50 3AZ

How much are the tickets?
Prices can range anywhere from £10 to £60, depending on the location of your seat. There are side / centre / rear stalls, side / front upper /rear upper /centre / middle upper circle, restricted view as well as boxes.

Here’s a sneak peek preview of the show

How do I book the tickets ?

To book tickets please call The Lowry at 08432086000 or via their website here.

About Lowry

The Lowry is a registered charity committed to using visual and performing arts to enrich people’s lives. They present audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike.  At the heart of their work is a commitment to the local communities and young people. Tapping into the work on their ur stages and in their galleries, they offer thousands of free creative participation opportunities each year. They are passionate about nurturing talent, developing creative professionals of the future and raising aspirations.

Things to note: 

  • The Lowry welcomes all visitors regardless of their disability and strive to meet all individuals needs where possible.
  • They welcome access and assistance dogs.
  • The Lowry website is fully accessible and features BrowseAloud. Browsealoud adds speech, reading and translation support, facilitating access and particpiation for those people who need support reading print, dyslexia, low literacy, mild visual impairments and those with English as a second language. To use this feature, simply click on the grey ear logo located in the footer.
  • If you are driving to the show, we would recommend for you to park at The Lowry Outlet which is opposite the theatre, but be aware as there is lack of signage from the car park area to the theatre, so best to ask someone or use google maps to find your way.
* We were provided with press tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions are our own.


  1. March 5, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    Oh I would so love to see this! We live local to Manchester but I had no idea this was on at The Lowry. My girls would adore this.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:29 am

      I hope they do Laura, this is a great show.

  2. March 5, 2018 / 11:26 pm

    Oh wow I bet this is such a powerful show to watch. I have to say though that Madama Butterfly isn’t a show I have seen before, perhaps I’ll keep an eye out to see if it comes this way.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:28 am

      Hope you do catch it Sarah, its going to be filled with emotions

  3. March 6, 2018 / 12:07 am

    Now this would be a treat to see on a cold wintry night,what a fun night you will be having !

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:28 am

      Thanks Patrick, we can’t wait to go tonight to see it in person x

  4. March 6, 2018 / 2:03 am

    I love that The Lowry has accessibility for everyone and I have heard such positive news about Madame Butterfly. I am a sucker for a good play!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:27 am

      Thanks Ana, we are really surprised too that they provide access for almost all disability x

  5. March 6, 2018 / 8:21 am

    I love a good play and we go to see them regularly. Madame Butterfly sounds absolutely excellent, wish we lived closer so we could go x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:22 am

      Its a great line up of cast and the story line is fabulous as well

  6. March 6, 2018 / 8:54 am

    Madama Butterfly sounds like a wonderful experience. It’s great that you get to see it, even though it’s on for 2 nights only!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 9:21 am

      Yes we can’t wait, press night is tonight

  7. March 6, 2018 / 9:44 am

    I’ve heard so much about madame butterfly that I’d love to go and see it x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 11:02 am

      Hope you do get the chance Rhian

  8. March 6, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    Madama Butterfly is so sad! My mummy has only ever seen the TV recordings and finds it unbearable in places (in a dramatic way) she’s love to see it in person x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 6, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      We hope your mum does get the chance to go watch it, it is very emotional for sure x

  9. March 6, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    I have been wanting to see a performance of this for absolutely ages! It sounds amazing!!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:37 am

      It certainly was, we had a great time!

  10. March 6, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    This is a performance I would certainly love to see – it sounds like an emotional amazing story

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:37 am

      It is very emotional! But so worth to watch

  11. March 6, 2018 / 8:44 pm

    I bet this was so amazing to watch! I’d love to see it one day x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:36 am

      Hope you do Fritha, its a gret musical

  12. March 6, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    It definitely sounds like a wonderful story. Oh how I wish I can also see this one.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:36 am

      Hope you do get the chance Angela

  13. March 6, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    My Mother would have loved this! It’s her favourite opera. She has the album (yes I mean a record and she saw this a few times in London in the 60’s!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:36 am

      Wow, I am sure she would. It was fantastic with great music too

  14. March 6, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    What a wonderful experience, you had me at desire and betrayal, Madam butterfly seems like a lovely show

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:35 am

      It was fantastic!

  15. March 7, 2018 / 11:35 am

    I’ve never really seen any shows in theater, unless you count The Lion King and The Rocky Horror Picture Show…but this sounds beautifully heart breaking. I think this would send hormonal me into a fit of tears.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 7:01 pm

      Yes there are parts which are heartbreaking and parts which are so magical!

  16. March 7, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    Oh this sounds amazing, I love that they do such cheap tickets too, it makes opera accessible for everyone.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 7:01 pm

      Yes totally, it all depends on your budget and where you want to sit

  17. Lynn Harper
    March 7, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    This would be something I would love to go and see I’m so glad that you find it magical . The photographs look amazing as well

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      Thanks Lynn

  18. March 7, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    I’ve always wanted to see Madama Butterfly. Shame it’s only on for two days in Manchester – a bit far for me to get to. Seems you had a wonderful time watching the show. Tickets are affordable too.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      Yes totally, it was really good Lana. Hope you get the chance to catch it too.

  19. Jess
    March 7, 2018 / 3:22 pm

    This sounds like such a heartbreaking story and the set design looks amazing! What an experience. I always seem to kick myself hearing about things like this because I feel as if I don’t take advantage of Manchester’s theater scene enough,

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      No, there is so much going on there. Hope you do get to watch something soon enough. Follow us on social or subscribe our blog and we will share more details about more theatre shows.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 8, 2018 / 7:04 pm

      Hope you do Harriet, last show tonight

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