Madame Butterfly

Cultures clash when a trusting young woman marries an American naval officer stationed in Nagasaki. Puccini’s gut-wrenching music takes the audience on an emotionally charged journey through innocence, betrayal and sacrifice towards a heartbreaking finale.

Music by Giacomo Puccini | Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

See A Performance

Running Time

Approximately 2 hours, 48 minutes with one intermission

Who Should See It

Great for date night and first-time operagoers. Fans of South Pacific and Miss Saigon. 

Pre-Opera Talks

Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain.

Invite a Friend

Sunday 11/06/16 2:00PM *
Wednesday 11/09/16 7:30PM
Saturday 11/12/16 7:30PM
Tuesday 11/15/16 7:30PM
Friday 11/18/16 7:30PM
Tuesday 11/22/16 7:30PM *
Saturday 11/26/16 7:30PM *
Tuesday 11/29/16 7:30PM *
Thursday 12/01/16 7:30PM
Sunday 12/04/16 2:00PM


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Lianna Haroutounian is a Butterfly for the ages!

The Mercury News

Get a ticket if you can—this is one that opera lovers are likely to be talking about for a long, long time.

The Mercury News

In his first U.S. appearance, the Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo made an impressive Pinkerton, singing with ardor and stylistic assurance.

San Francisco Chronicle

It was a joy to bask once again in the magnificence of her singing.

San Francisco Chronicle

Conductor Yves Abel made a welcome return to lead a performance of tenderness and dramatic urgency.

San Francisco Chronicle

Mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde’s sensitive, vocally resplendent performance as the maid Suzuki was only the latest step in this Adler Fellow’s methodical, thrilling march toward greatness.

San Francisco Chronicle

Jun Kaneko’s colorful production evokes the milieu of early 20th-century Nagasaki while lending the action a vibrant, eye-catching backdrop.

The Mercury News

She injected her performance with a new jolt of energy—vaulting to high notes, shaping individual phrases with fierce vitality—and all without sacrificing anything in the way of elegance or gentility of tone.

San Francisco Chronicle

Read More


A young Japanese woman is abandoned by her American naval officer husband, resulting in tragic consequences.

Read Complete Synopsis ›

Cast & Creative

Cio-Cio-San Lianna Haroutounian
Lt. B. F. Pinkerton Vincenzo Costanzo*
Suzuki Zanda Švēde
Goro Julius Ahn
Sharpless Anthony Clark Evans*
Prince Yamadori Edward Nelson
The Bonze Raymond Aceto
Imperial Commisioner Matthew Stump
Kate Pinkerton Julie Adams
Official Registrat Jere Torkelsen


November 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 22, 26, and 29
December 1 and 4, 2016

Conductor Yves Abel 1
Conductor Jordi Bernàcer 2
Director Leslie Swackhamer
Production Designer Jun Kaneko
Lighting Designer Gary Marder
Choreographer Melissa Noble
Chorus Director Ian Robertson
Fight Director Dave Maier

 * San Francisco Opera Debut

1November 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 22, 26, 29, and December 1

2December 4

A co-production with Opera Omaha.

Previous performances of Madame Butterfly can be found in our Archive.

Program Articles

Puccini's Theatrical Sensibility in "Madama Butterfly"

For Puccini, the story of Madama Butterfly offered a way to sharpen his theatrical instincts while expanding his orchestral palette.

Flying with Madama Butterfly

Artist Jun Kaneko discusses his inspiration and process for designing Madama Butterfly.

Past Casts at San Francisco Opera

Madama Butterfly had its first appearance at San Francisco Opera in 1924.

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La Bohème

June 10–July 2, 2017

Made Possible By

This production is made possible, in part, by: The Burgess and Elizabeth Jamieson Fund; Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem, through the Emerging Stars Fund; Joan and David Traitel, through the Great Singers Fund; and Kaiser Permanente.

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Photo (top): San Francisco Opera production of Madame Butterfly/Cory Weaver