Madam Butterfly and more – Chinese New Year at the Belgrade Theatre

OperaUpClose return with a new translation of Puccini’s opera, alongside free crafts, calligraphy and Tai Chi taster sessions.

With a new calendar year now well underway, Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre is already looking forward to the next big celebration, with Lunar New Year festivities marking the start of the Year of the Rat from 25 Jan-8 Feb.

Sometimes called Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in a number of countries across East and Southeast Asia, as well as by diaspora communities around the world. 

Following the success of last year’s Chinese crafts and Tai Chi taster session, the Belgrade has once again teamed up with Coventry University’s Confucius Institute to offer a free fun day on Saturday, 1 February. 

Taking place from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, this drop-in event will include opportunities to try your hand at Tai Chi and traditional crafts said to bring good luck and good fortune, as well as a chance to learn the art of Chinese calligraphy.

The Year of the Rat is said to be auspicious for all new beginnings: so what better time to turn over a new leaf and try something different?

Then on Thursday, 6 February, the Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose return to the Belgrade with a new English version of Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera, Madam Butterfly. Translated by Poppy Burton-Morgan (In The Willows, Metta Theatre; Little Mermaid, Theatre by the Lake), this moving production retells the familiar story from a female, East Asian perspective, transposing it to 1980s Japan, where traditional culture is colliding with a new digital age. 

Re-orchestrated by acclaimed composer and multi-instrumentalist Ruth Chan (The Taming of the Shrew, Snow in Midsummer, RSC, Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok, Yellow Earth and Manchester Royal Exchange), Puccini’s sublime music is performed by a diverse cast of eight singers.

Casting for the show includes Mariam Tamari, Jonathan Cooke, Karlene Moreno-Hayworth, Thomas Kinch, Ee Ping Yee, Jan Capinski, Jane Monari and Michael Chun Ting Lam.

The show is directed by Poppy Burton-Morgan, with musical direction by Paul McKenzie, set and costume by Cindy Lin, lighting by William Reynolds and movement direction by Shala Iwaskow. The assistant director is Fumi Gomez, and Kelvin Lim is associate musical director and vocal coach. 

Tickets for the show are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are cheaper.