A Platinum Club Experience of this theatrical spectacle.

‘Madama Butterfly’ on Sydney Harbour is unique, especially teamed with the luxury of the Platinum Club; however you don’t need to blow the budget to have an unforgettable night of opera with this accessible and innovative production of ‘Madama Butterfly’, set against the Sydney Harbour backdrop.

Last year’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour was ‘Carmen‘, this year, ‘Madama Butterfly’. For a blow-the-budget experience you can splash out and enjoy a sumptuous three-course pre-show dinner at the Platinum Club. The dishes are full of clean flavours, and while decadent in their own way, do not sit heavy on the stomach, which, bearing in mind you are about to sit through an opera, is a relief – certainly no carbs crash before you’ve even reached the interval.

Enter the Platinum Club Lounge and you will be greeted with clean lines,  black wood, Philippe Starck ghost chairs, parasols hanging from the ceiling, and (a particularly lovely touch) miniature Zen sand gardens on each table. The Japanese thread provides inspiration for the menu too.

Tea Poached Chicken and Soybean Salad with Saffron Emulsion

Tea Poached Chicken and Soybean Salad with Saffron Emulsion was a smart dish to kick off the meal. Later while watching the entrance of Madama Butterfly for her wedding with her small bird-like steps, this dish seemed to reflect her delicacy and elegance. The chicken had a perfect velvet soft texture, and this contrasted with the zing and sharpness of the pale rose pink pickled radish which also provided a beautiful colour contrast with the pale green soybeans and saffron emulsion.

Miso Marinated Wagu Beef on Bok Choy and Enouki Mushrooms

Main dishes offered included Roasted Blue Eyed Cod with Silken Tofu and Watercress, for the vegetarians Ma Po Eggplant on Daikon Radish Salad and Spinach and Sesame Dressing, but for the confirmed carnivores the Miso Marinated Wagu Beef on Bok Choy and Enoki Mushrooms was a must. The meat came up a solid medium and I was a little apprehensive as I cut into it that it might be over done, but it was perfect. The knife went straight through it and the taste was sensational, the miso acting to complement the wagu beef rather than overpower it. If you definitely want your meat rare though, perhaps make sure you let your waiter know to avoid disappointment.

Chocolate and Ginger Mousse

For dessert, there was the option of a cheese plate or Chocolate and Ginger Mousse. No contest when chocolate is involved, the Chocolate and Ginger Mousse it had to be. It came up as a work of art, to the point it felt sinful to attack with the spoon. It was the richest dish of the night, incredibly dark chocolate with just the faintest hint of ginger hidden away, you really had to search hard for it, but when you found it, it was a delight.  While the menu and decor followed the ‘Madama Butterfly’ Japanese inspired thread, the wines on the other hand were first-rate Aussie grown and produced.

It was the richest dish of the night, incredibly dark chocolate with just the faintest hint of ginger hidden away…

The Tyrell’s wines in the Platinum Lounge were top of the range, made from vines which were planted 150 years ago. In the words of the maker, with grapes that good it’s pretty hard to mess it up. The Tyrell’s Stevens Single Vineyard Semillon was light and lemony without being too acidic. It perfectly complemented rather than took over the food.

The Platinum Club is wonderfully decadent and luxurious – and naturally comes with a price tag you’d expect of a first-class experience. However, the marvellous thing about Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, and very much part of the ideology is that opera (and this experience) should be accessible to all. Opera can be seen as an elitist art and some can be intimidated to attend. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is about inclusion, not exclusion, and there are a whole host of food and drink options aside from the Platinum Club,  available at very affordable prices.

The gates open at 5pm, so a budget conscious option would be to arrive early, bag yourself a premium spot at the Adina Garden Bar  (it doesn’t matter what tier ticket you hold, or which food venue you go to, EVERYWHERE has that fantastic view), buy yourself a glass of wine and some noodles and sit down and soak up the atmosphere.  You don’t have to mortgage your house to be part of this.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Madama Butterfly wedding at sunset

To be clear, the food is outstanding (all provided by the innovative Fresh Catering), the view, of course, astounding, and the Platinum Club in particular offers a top of the range experience, but all these elements are the supporting artists to the main star of the whole experience, which is the opera itself.

And you don’t need to be an opera fan. This is a theatrical spectacle, with a set which simply amazes. Forget Hollywood CGI and 3D cinema, the set design of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is a work of genius. The green rolling hills of the first act with its garden wedding (culminating in a harbour firework display following the ‘I dos’) is utterly transformed during the interval (see above).

…it doesn’t matter what tier ticket you hold, or which food venue you go to, EVERYWHERE has that fantastic view

The Platinum Club for drinks and canapés during the 35 minute interval is an  affordable luxury, but the set change was so fascinating, I found myself drawn to the edge of the lounge with a glass of exceptional fizz, not wanting to miss a moment of the transformation from green rolling hills to the concrete house and industrial looking backdrop created for the second act.

Whether you want to push the boat out for the crème de la crème Platinum Club Lounge, or opt for a lower tier priced ticket and some Japanese inspired street food, it doesn’t matter. The beauty of this production is that you have the power to choose, and whatever option you go for, you will truly have the theatrical experience of a lifetime. Set against that stunning backdrop, as a Londoner, I can say without bias that there is nothing else to rival it. I simply have one word for you – GO!

  • The Platinum Club Dining Experience costs $250 per head and includes a three course pre-theatre dinner with drinks.
  • The Platinum Club Interval Drinks costs $50 per person and includes an open bar with an offering of fine wine, beers and canapés over looking the harbour. 
  • Bookings for the Platinum Club are essential and must be made at least two days ahead of your ticket show date. 
  • Madama Butterfly is on until 13 April 2014, tickets priced from $79.
  • Visit opera.org.au to book.

This noodlies, Sydney food blog experience was courtesy of Opera Australia and Fresh Catering.  Show images courtesy of Opera Australia and food images courtesy of Fresh Catering.