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Richard Mills

The Butterfly Lovers

Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
12 Oct 2022 - 15 Oct 2022

In a famous Chinese legend, doomed lovers find freedom when their spirits transform into butterflies.

Yingtai disguises herself as a boy to pursue an education. On the way to commence her studies, she meets Shanbo and they become friends. Confused by their growing attraction, they eventually succumb to their love. But Yingtai is destined for an arranged marriage. Only as butterflies can they be together forever.

In an international collaboration with Singapore’s Wild Rice theatre, Victorian Opera’s Richard Mills has composed a new opera with a libretto by playwright Joel Tan. Directed by one of Asia’s greatest theatre-makers, Ivan Heng, expect the colour and sound of Chinese culture fused with traditions of opera. 

An exploration of sexual identity and societal oppression, The Butterfly Lovers is above all else a celebration of love.



Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse

Wednesday 12 October 2022, 7.30 pm
Thursday 13 October 2022, 7.30 pm
Friday 14 October 2022, 7.30 pm
Saturday 15 October 2022, 1.00 pm, 7.30 pm

1 h 10, no interval
Sung in English

More Information

In-Theatre Subscriptions are now closed.

For assistance with a current Subscription, including exchanges and adding tickets to your booking, phone 1800 822 849.

Single Tickets

In-Theatre Tickets $100 (Concessions available)

Bookings available online or by phone on 1300 182 183 (Arts Centre Melbourne). Fees Apply - see further details in the Book Tickets section below.

Accessible Seating Tickets

All Arts Centre Melbourne venues contain accessible seating for those with access requirements and their companions. 

For those with limited mobility we recommend contacting our team for assistance to discuss the number of stairs required to navigate from the foyers, the entry doors and when inside the auditorium to your seat. This information varies for each of our venues. Please call Arts Centre Melbourne for assistance with your booking and recommendations to best meet your needs.

Subscription booking line: 1300 822 849 Single ticket bookings: 1300 182 183

More Access options and further information can be found on the Arts Centre Melbourne website.

Keeping you safe

The safety of our audience and team is paramount. COVID-safe procedures will be adhered to for every performance. Our venue partner, Arts Centre Melbourne, has worked diligently to develop their COVIDSafe & Wellbeing Plan.

If you or a member of your household is unwell or displaying COVID-19 symptoms before a performance, please stay home. To exchange or refund your tickets due to feeling unwell, contact our ticketing team at or phone (03) 9001 6412 (Monday to Friday, 10 am - 5 pm) prior to your performance.

Ticket Concierge

Do you need assistance with your ticket booking? We are here to help. Visit our Ticket Concierge and tell us how we can help you. We will take care of the rest. 

Creatives & Cast

Composer and Conductor Richard Mills
Librettist Joel Tan
Director Ivan Heng
Orchestra Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra, featuring traditional Chinese instruments


Father/Zhu To be announced
Liang Shanbo Meili Li
Zhu Yingtai Cathy-Di Zhang


Book Tickets

Single Tickets $39-$100

Price Type Premium A-Reserve B-Reserve C-Reserve
Adult $100 $90 $65 $39
Concession $90 $80 $55 $39
Senior $95 $85 $60 $39
30 Years & Under $30 $30

Single Ticket online orders may be subject to a Service Charge of up to $8.95 per order, plus any optional additional postage charges. 
Digital Access ticket orders include a $1.50 (inc. GST) processing fee per order.

Bookings available online or by phone on 1300 182 183 (Arts Centre Melbourne).

If you have accessible booking requirements, including wheelchair and/or companion card requirements please contact Arts Centre Melbourne on 1300 182 183 (main Box Office) or 1300 822 849 (Subscriptions line).

For assistance with existing 2022 Subscriptions, please phone the Victorian Opera Subscription line on 1300 822 849 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm). Subscriptions closed on Thursday 31 March 2022.

Ticket prices are correct at time of publishing and may vary. A booking fee may apply. Information on our Privacy and Ticketing Policies can be found here. We strongly advise that tickets should only be purchased via authorised ticket sellers. For The Butterfly Lovers this includes Arts Centre Melbourne. Tickets purchased through unauthorised sellers cannot be guaranteed.

Supported by

The Robert Salzer Foundation
Circle5 Foundation