Thursday, 04 May 2023

Tickets for Madama Butterfly go on sale Friday, 5 May at 12.00


Tickets go on sale Friday, 5 May at 12.00 via the Box Offices of the Athens Epidaurus Festival, and online via &

The Greek National Opera is opening the Athens Epidaurus Festival with a major new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly conducted by Vassilis Christopoulos, directed by Olivier Py, and presented at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus for four performances – on 1, 4, 7 and 10 June 2023. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.

Giacomo Puccini’s “Japanese tragedy”, first presented at La Scala in Milan in 1904, tells the story of the star-crossed love harboured by the fifteen-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-San for Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the United States Navy.

Following the enormously successful Wozzek (2020), leading French director Olivier Py is returning to the Greek National Opera once more, this time to stage Puccini’s masterpiece at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Py –who was recently appointed Artistic Director of Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris following his much-admired nine-year stint as director of the Festival d’Avignon– has put on more than forty works of opera around the world. Now, on the invitation of the Greek National Opera, he is tackling Madama Butterfly for the first time, bringing the orchestra up onto the Odeon of Herodes Atticus stage and the political dimensions of Puccini’s work right to the fore, in his signature directorial style. “We hope that the power of Puccini’s political message shall be apparent in our staging, and that this incongruous work shall no longer be considered some sad and sentimental story in a saccharine setting, but rather a powerful piece of political discourse that portends the death of a world,” notes the director. The production’s impressive sets and costumes are designed by Py’s longstanding associate, Pierre-André Weitz.

An American officer acquired the services of the young geisha Miss Butterfly at an expense of 39 dollars per month. Four dollars of this bought the license that entitled her to be his mistress, and to a daily bath in the public bathhouse. He paid her 25 dollars a month and hired a room and a servant for her, which cost another ten dollars. For this sum, he enjoyed all the comforts of a married man for a set time, and she had a roof over her head and a servant at her command. On leaving for America, he promised he would return to her when the robins nest again but in fact deserted her, leaving her desperately poor, with babe in arms. The author John Luther Long was inspired by this account of a real-life young geisha called Cio-Cio-San –recounted to him by his sister, who had lived in Nagasaki– to start writing his own short story of the tale, which formed the basis for a theatre play and, subsequently, Puccini’s opera.

Madama Butterfly never strays from the principles of verismo, with its intense clashes and love of theatrical flourishes. In this vein, the score carefully selects how best to embellish each and every moment. Orchestral influences drawn from the musical universes of Debussy and Ravel, singular elements taken from the Japanese musical tradition, striking escalations, chamber music aspects, and eruptions featuring the entire orchestra charge the opera with its particular pulsating exuberance, its unique vivacity.

The production is conducted by the acclaimed Greek maestro Vassilis Christopoulos, who was recently appointed Chief Conductor at Oper Gratz in Austria.

The distinguished soprano Anna Sohn is to appear as Cio-Cio-San. Appearing as Pinkerton is the acclaimed tenor Andrea Carè. In the role of Suzuki is the eminent mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova, while performing Sharpless is the exceptional GNO baritone Dionysios Sourbis. Performing with them on stage are the GNO soloists Diamanti Kritsotaki, Yannis Kalyvas, Haris Andrianos, Petros Magoulas, Petros Salatas, Christos Lazos, Vassiliki Petroyanni, Vaia Kofou, and Vicky Athanassiou.

With the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera.


Opera • New production
Madama Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini
1, 4, 7, 10 June 2023
Starts at: 21.00
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
As part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival

Conductor: Vassilis Christopoulos
Director: Olivier Py
Sets, costumes: Pierre-André Weitz
Lighting: Bertrand Killy
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos

Cio-Cio-San: Anna Sohn
Suzuki: Alisa Kolosova
Kate Pinkerton: Diamanti Kritsotaki
B. F. Pinkerton: Andrea Carè
Sharpless: Dionysios Sourbis
Goro: Yannis Kalyvas
Prince Yamadori / Imperial commissioner: Haris Andrianos
The Bonze: Petros Magoulas
Yakuside: Petros Salatas
Official registrar: Christos Lazos
Cio-Cio-San’s mother: Vassiliki Petroyanni
Aunt: Vaia Kofou
Cousin: Vicky Athanassiou

With the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera


Tickets go on sale on Friday, 5 May at 12.00

Ticket prices: €25, €45, €55, €60, €85, €100

Students, children: €15 / Persons with disabilities: €15


Advance bookings:

  • GNO Box Office

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

9.00-21.00 daily

Tel. +30 2130885700

  • Athens Epidaurus Festival Main Box Office

Syntagma Square (City of Athens info point)

Monday-Friday 9.00-20.00 & Saturday 10.00-18.00

Tel. +30 2118008181, +30 2103225109


Production sponsors MYTILINEOS Energy & Metals and EUROBANK

Lead Donor of the GNO & Production donor

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)