Madam Butterfly

Directed by Anthony Minghella

Puppetry by Blind Summit Theatre

Blind Summit made "trouble" in Anthony Minghella's Olivier award winning Madam Butterfly for ENO, LNOBT (Lithuania) and the Met Opera. 

Premiere in 2005 it continues to run today and has also toured to Spain, China, Perth. 

A new revival production is in the pipeline... watch this space for news!


"The production really felt like a pivotal moment for UK Puppetry"
D. Max Pryor, British Council On Tour Magazine

“In the aisles and lobbies during the second intermission of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” which opened the season on Monday night before a star-studded audience, patrons could be overheard heatedly debating the puppet used to portray Butterfly’s little boy.

Some people thought it was “more real than any real child they could have had,” as one patron put it. Others thought it was intriguing but very strange. Somewhere in the house, Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the Met, must have been beaming.
New York Times, 29.9.06



"Mr Minghellas finest touch is to turn the child of Butterfly and Pinkerton into a Bunraku puppet, operated - as is traditional – by three visible, but totally self effacing puppeteers (the superb Blind Summit company), and far more expressive than any child actor.”
Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal (Europe) 11 Nov 05

The pathos of the blindfolded puppet-boy prior to his mother's suicide, taking faltering steps, is overwhelming.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 7 Nov 05 

“The physical detail, the restless, excitable, mother-clinging actions and reactions are such that a child actor could never give us and after a while you stop noticing the puppeteers and, like Butterfly, you see only genuine emotion and need in the impassive doll-face. This is extraordinary.”
Edward Seckerson, The Independent, 7 Nov 05

"The puppeteers looked rather pleased with themselves"

Adam Mars Jones 

“ The stroke of genius in using a puppet for Butterfly's child (expertly and vividly worked by a team of no fewer than three puppeteers), add and add again to the sheer brilliance of the conception.”
A C Grayling, Time Literary Supplement 

“I ended up thinking let’s close all the stage schools and let all children under 12 be played by puppets…”
Adam Mars Jones, Front Row R4, 7 Nov 05

“the 3 year old child… played by a puppet, is so beautifully done and is so moving and works exquisitely…”
Peggy Reynolds, Night Waves, 7 Nov 05

“The animation is so well achieved by veiled but perfectly visible puppeteers that the puppets are easily the most authentic characters on stage.” 
Financial Times, 7 Nov 05, Andrew Clarke

“When, during the "dream ballet" interpolated into the opening of Act 3, the puppet representing Butterfly clutches with desperation at the departing Pinkerton, we heard an audible gasp go up around us.” 
The Londonist 8 Nov 05

“this production will be remembered for its puppets.”
Tom Service, The Guardian, 7 Nov 05

"The most extraordinary part of Minghella's daring concept is to use Bunraku-style puppet as Butterfly's lovechild, Sorrow... As wooden performances go, this one is masterly" 
The Daily Mail, 2 Dec 05

“The puppet is cute as a button, and it’s ingeniously manipulated by three onstage hooded figures”
New York Classical and Dance

“Three black-hooded men operated the life-size puppet and infused it with so much realism I forgot at times it wasn't alive.”
Seen and Heard International Opera Review – Harry Steiman

"The puppetry was on a level of genius"
The Nation, Thailand

"This is the moment that British puppetry has been waiting for," 
Animations Online ed. 15

"Like a maple syrup enema" Jonathan Miller in New York Times

Blind Summit Studio

Unit 10, Grenville Workshops

2a Grenville Road

London N19 4EH

020 7272 9020

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