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Richard Mills

The Butterfly Lovers

Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
13 Nov 2021 - 16 Nov 2021

East meets west in a celebration of the universal language of music.

In this famous Chinese legend, doomed lovers find freedom when they transform into butterfly spirits. Yingtai disguises herself as a boy to pursue an education. On the way, 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.

Victorian Opera’s Richard Mills joins forces with one of Asia’s greatest theatre makers, Wild Rice’s Ivan Heng, for a world premiere.

Expect the colour and sound of Chinese culture fused with Western traditions of opera. Explore sexual identity, societal oppression and, above all, the power of love.



Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse

Saturday 13 November 2021, 7.30 pm
Monday 15 November 2021, 6.30 pm
Tuesday 16 November 2021, 7.30 pm

1 h 15, no interval

Sung in English with surtitles

The Butterfly Lovers goes on sale in Quarter 4

Subscriptions will be available from Thursday 2 September to Wednesday 15 September. Single tickets on sale Thursday 16 September.

Subscription Tickets $35-$76
Single Tickets $39-$95

2021 Concession prices include: Pension and Health Care Card holders, Full-time Students, MEAA Members. Other Discount prices available: Senior, 30 Years and Under, Arts Access Victoria. Companion Card ticketing available.

Ticket Concierge

Excited to see The Butterfly Lovers and don’t want to miss the on-sale date? We can help. Register your interest using our new Ticket Concierge.

Creatives & Cast

Composer and Conductor Richard Mills
Librettist Joel Tan
Director Ivan Heng
Costume Designers Saksit Pisalasupongs and Phisit Jong
Orchestra Victorian Opera Chamber Ensemble, featuring traditional Chinese instruments


Father / Zhu Simon Meadows
Liang Shanbo Max Riebl
Zhu Yingtai To be announced

In association with

Wild Rice

Supported by

Robert Salzer Foundation