THE RABBITS World Premiere, MADAMA BUTTERFLY's Australian Premiere and THE GIANTS Set for 2015 Perth International Arts Festival

Giants, Rabbits and a Butterfly join the cast of thousands in what is shaping to be an outstanding year for the Perth International Arts Festival. Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway has announced two advance highlights of the upcoming 2015 Perth Festival program, the final under his artistic leadership. The world premiere of The Rabbits and Australian premiere of the English National Opera's Madama Butterfly go on sale exclusively to Friends of the Festival from 25 - 27 August, with all tickets to these exceptional productions on sale to the public on 28 August. They join Royal de Luxe's The Giants, a free event for the people of Western Australia, in this first program release.

Perth Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: "I am ecstatic to introduce to you: the world premiere of a new Australian opera, an Australian exclusive presentation of Anthony Minghella's now iconic and Olivier Award-winning foray into operatic theatre, and the biggest free public arts event Australia has ever seen -- right here in Perth."

Anthony Minghella's Olivier Award-winning Madama Butterfly will be performed in Australia for the first time. This production comes directly from the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York and is an Australian exclusive.

Known for directing films such as The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, Minghella has created a stunning mix of cinematic images and traditional Japanese theatre. This is the late director's only opera production and is celebrated as one of the most iconic stagings of all time.

Puccini's tragic love story tells of Butterfly (Cio-Cio San), a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval officer, Pinkerton. Shortly after their wedding, Pinkerton returns to America, leaving Butterfly alone to await her husband's return. Set to the gloriously romantic melodies of Puccini's music, this moving story of devotion and betrayal has established Madama Butterfly as one of the world's most performed and beloved operas.

This production by English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Lithuanian National Opera, in association with West Australian Opera, sees internationally renowned soprano -- and Minghella's original Butterfly -- Mary Plazas in the title role, alongside original conductor David Parry. An international cast joins them to perform with the West Australian Opera Chorus and West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

In this Perth International Arts Festival commission, John Marsden and Shaun Tan's compelling picture-book The Rabbits is brought to life as a new work of operatic theatre for adults and children alike.

The Rabbits brings together an extraordinary Australian creative team in this world premiere production. Award-winning vocalist Kate Miller-Heidke leads a cast of singers and musicians, performing her own compositions and Lally Katz's enchanting libretto, with additional music from multiple Helpmann Award winner Iain Grandage in John Sheedy's adaptation of a revered classic, designed by Helpmann Award winner Gabriela Tylesova.

This is a story of hope in the face of colonisation, displacement and despair. The world of The Rabbits invites us to question the constructs of modern life: society, culture, environment ... the essence of our humanity.

And the world's leading large-scale storytellers, Royal de Luxe will open the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival with a spectacular event to commemorate the Anzac Centenary. Over three days, you will be immersed in a modern-day fable, played out by the Giants across the city of Perth. This is our story seen through the eyes of a child; it is our history, our people, and our places.

The Giants takes inspiration from unique Western Australian stories - of Gallipoli-bound troops departing Fremantle and Albany, and a little girl in the lighthouse who buoyed their spirits. Together, we'll follow the Giants through the streets of Perth, marvelling at a tale of reunion and nation-building, to honour our original Anzacs and celebrate our shared heritage.

The Giants will not only be the largest event in Australia to commemorate the centenary of World War I, but also the biggest free public arts event Western Australia has ever seen.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be shared and remembered. In February, that experience will be yours.

While we're busy putting the finishing touches on some exciting projects to connect this Centenary of Anzac commemoration with WA schoolchildren, we'd like to invite you to get involved with The Giants by joining our volunteer program for this very special event. Visit for more details.


Australian Exclusive, Australian Premiere

English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Lithuanian National Opera

In association with West Australian Opera

By Giacomo Puccini

Cio-Cio San - Mary Plazas

Pinkerton - Adam Diegel

Sharpless - Jonathan Summers

Suzuki - Maria Zifchak

Conductor - David Parry


WHEN: 24, 26, 28 February; 3, 5, 7 March

7.30pm, 2hr 50min including 2 intervals

Sung in Italian with English surtitles


World Premiere

A Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Opera Australia co-production

In association with West Australian Opera

Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

Based on the book written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan

Composed by Kate Miller-Heidke, Libretto by Lally Katz

Adapted and directed by John Sheedy

Musical director, musical arrangements and additional music by Iain Grandage

Designed by Gabriela Tylesova


WHEN: 12 - 16 February 60 minutes, no interval


Royal de Luxe

WHEN: 13, 14, 15 February


For more information, visit

Perth International Arts Festival: 13 February-7 March 2015

Lotterywest Festival Films: From 24 November 2014

Perth Writers Festival: 19-22 February 2015

The full program will be launched on 5 November, 2014.


TELEPHONE 08 6488 5555 (Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm)


IN PERSON at any Ticketek outlet (including His Majesty's Theatre, Perth Concert Hall, Subiaco Arts Centre and State Theatre Centre of Western Australia)


Perth International Arts Festival - Founded in 1953 by The University of Western Australia, the Perth International Arts Festival is the longest running international arts festival in Australia and Western Australia's premier cultural event. The Festival has developed a worldwide reputation for excellence in its international program, the presentation of new works and the highest quality artistic experiences for its audience. For 62 years the Festival has welcomed to Perth some of the world's greatest living artists and now connects with over 500,000 people each year.

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