Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly

February 6, 2012

Press Releases

Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly

Northern Ballet media release

For immediate release

6th February 2012

Northern Ballet to perform classic tragedy Madame Butterfly

Ayana Kanda as Butterfly in Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly. Photo by Jason Tozer

Ayana Kanda as Butterfly in Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly. Photo by Jason Tozer

Northern Ballet is performing Madame Butterfly at the Leeds Grand Theatre from 29 February to 10 March, following successful performances of the production in Beijing last year. Madame Butterfly is directed and choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, who originally created the piece on his wife, Yoko Ichino, the internationally renowned ballerina, who is now Ballet Mistress and Academy Associate Director at Northern Ballet. The Northern Ballet version of the production premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2002 and has not been performed in the city since then.

Former Northern Ballet Principal Artist Keiko Amemori will be making a welcome return to dance the role of Butterfly. Keiko had a successful career with Northern Ballet between 2001 and 2009 where she danced all the principal female roles in the repertoire, including Butterfly.

Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly is based on the original Belasco play that inspired the great opera. This heart-rending tale of love and infidelity, involves a young geisha who marries Lieutenant Pinkerton, a dashing naval officer, only to be abandoned by him while carrying his unborn child.  The loyal Butterfly awaits her husband’s return, valiantly raising their son alone in a society which has ostracised her.  When Pinkerton eventually returns to Nagaski with his new American wife, Butterfly’s doomed fate and that of her young son are sealed.

David Nixon commented on the production, “when creating Madame Butterfly, I wanted to incorporate an aesthetic of the traditional Japanese culture and music. I wanted to portray the dilemma of Butterfly who tries to change the perception of her culture, only to be betrayed by her newly adopted beliefs. Her freedom is only achieved by returning to her roots. Our re-orchestration of Puccini’s wonderful music, to which we have incorporated traditional Japanese music, has resulted in a fluid and dramatically powerful score for this ballet, which blends traditional Japanese dance styles with classical ballet.”

In the Autumn Madame Butterfly will be touring to the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre (18 – 22 September), Manchester Opera House (25 – 29 September) and Nottingham Theatre Royal (2 – 6 October).

Ballet Tour Listings

Madame Butterfly

Leeds Grand Theatre

Wed 29 February – Sat 10 March

Box Office: 0844 8482701


Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

Tue  18  – Sat 22 September

Box Office: 0114 249 6000

Tickets not yet on sale


Manchester Palace Theatre

Tue 25– Sat 29 October

Box Office: 0844 871 7660

Tickets not yet on sale


Nottingham Theatre Royal

Tue 2  – Sat 6 October

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Tickets not yet on sale


Production credits

Choreography and Design Concept: David Nixon

Music: Giacomo Puccini

Orchestration: John Longstaff

Lighting Design: Peter Mumford

Scenic Design: Ali Allen

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