The late lamented film director Anthony Minghella’s thoughtful production of Madama Butterflymay be nearly 20 years old, but it’s still looking good. His staging, which started out at English National Opera in 2005 and inaugurated Peter Gelb’s tenure at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, has been around a few blocks, notably touring to the Perth International Festival in 2015. If you didn’t catch it there, next year’s HD broadcast will be a chance for Australian audiences to experience a production that honours its Japanese roots by incorporating elements of nohtheatre and bunrakupuppetry, while engaging the senses through filmic and, more crucially, dramatic moments of heart-stopping intimacy on the Met’s challengingly vast open stage.

Madama Butterfly. Photo © Richard Termine

Puccini’s tale of a turn-of-the-19th-century geisha wooed and deserted by a feckless American naval officer, only to have him return, new bride in tow, hoping to reclaim his abandoned child, is one of the great, tragic operatic storylines, but one with pitfalls in a modern era. Lt. B. F. Pinkerton can, and should, appear thoughtless or caddish, but given Butterfly’s...