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Performances of the opera “Madame Butterfly” at the Sydney Harbour will include an inflatable sun and moon as part of the set.
The sun measures 12 meters (36 feet) in diameter, and the moon is 6 meters (18 feet). The sun is supported by a large platform that floats on the water. It is constructed with thick sail cloth and is inflated by two fans and lit up with 12 LED lights. Four anchor lines hold the platform in place. The anchor lines must be checked every day to be sure that a boat has not run over them and cut them, which has happened in the past.
The sun and moon will be inflated by theater technician Andrew Tindal-Davies, who refers to himself as an “Orb Master.” He will be inside the sun during the entire performance of the opera. He will be positioned behind the lights so that audience members will not be able to see his shadow from the shore, where they will be watching the performance.
In addition to the inflatable sun and moon, the large outdoor set also includes a Japanese bamboo forest, two working cars, two cranes, a live orchestra, and two fireworks displays.
This is the third year that Handa Opera will perform a series of shows on Sydney Harbour. They will perform 20 times, beginning on March 21.
Puccini’s opera is about an American naval officer who visits Japan and marries a local woman, whom he nicknames Madame Butterfly. The cast of the opera consists of 60 artists, both local and international.