If ever there was a way to add more drama and theater to an opera production, it’s this: stage “Madame Butterfly” outside one of the world’s most iconic and famous opera houses against the curtain of the Sydney skyline, on the water’s edge, and add an explosion of fireworks to mark the final act.

It’s not hard to see why the city calls the Handa Opera its grandest cultural event of the year. Until April 13, nightly crowds of 3,000 seated by the Sydney Harbour will be transported to Japan and bear witness to the heartrending love story between an American naval officer and his Japanese bride.

The specs — and effects — are impressive.

The opera is performed across an open-air stage that spans 44 m by 29 m (144 feet by 95 feet), while glowing orbs that represent the sun and the moon rise from the harbor.

To cap off the performance, spectators are also treated to a nightly display of fireworks.

The Sydney production of “Madame Butterfly” features an international cast of 60 artists from 11 countries. Two casts alternate performances led by Hiromi Omura of Japan and Kwon Hye-Seoung in the title role.

The production is led by Spanish creative team La Fura dels Baus.

Tickets range from $79 to $350 AUS.

Sydney Harbour Stages Outdoor Pop-up Opera of Madama Butterfly2