Parlando: The COC Blog


Madama Butterfly Journey: Costumes, Makeup, and Wigs


Explore our production of Madama Butterfly through our latest infographic, delving into the productions costumes, makeup, and wigs, and including exclusive interviews with Costume Designer Susan Benson and Wig and Makeup Supervisor Sharon Ryman. 

Madama Butterfly is one of Giacomo Puccini’s greatest works and one of the most popular operas in the world. The opera tells the tragic story of Cio-Cio San, a Geisha, who falls in love with B. F. Pinkerton, a U.S. naval officer, while he is stationed in Japan. Formed through layers of symbolism, musical history, and diverse cultures, the opera is filled with unique elements from the costumes to the arias that help make it a favourite of opera goers both old and new.


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Around the World with Madama Butterfly

Madama Butterfly, a timeless tale of love, loss and devotion, is one of the world’s most popular operas. From New York City, to Rome and Finland, our globe-trotting Madama Butterfly artists have performed in opera houses and festivals around the world. We asked them to share their favourite stories, memories and behind-the-scenes tidbits from this beloved opera.



One of the things that makes live performance so exciting is that even after countless rehearsals, you can never guarantee the final result. Conductor Patrick Lange knows this from experience, when a show he was conducting didn’t go quite as planned… but he took it in stride and now it’s one of his favourite Butterfly memories! 

I had one of my most memorable Butterfly experiences when I was working, for the first time, with a certain singer notorious for slowing down the tempo in performances – but in rehearsals, this singer asked me not to slow down his part. When it came time for the performance, the Concertmaster (who had known this singer for years) asked me if I was sure about keeping the quicker tempo. I replied confidently, “Of course! Rehearsals have been going well!” But when the performance started, the singer was in a completely different world, singing his part much slower and making it impossible to go at the speed we’d rehearsed. When I looked down at the pit, I received a beautiful, knowing smile from the orchestra. These things are part of the fun of opera!


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Inside Opera: Madama Butterfly

Go behind the scenes with us as we discover the COC's classic production of one of the world's best loved operas, Madama ButterflyThis Inside Opera instalment features rehearsal footage and interviews with sopranos Kelly Kaduce and Patricia Racetteconductor Patrick Lange, and director Brian Macdonald

Madama Butterfly plays for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts from October 10 to 31.

For more information, click here.

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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