The powerful and heartfelt protest against The Golden Dragon opened our eyes to a perspective that we hadn't considered.

This was a challenging experience and we knew we had to listen carefully to the arguments presented and do our best to learn and change.

Read more about our journey here:

Lessons in Diversity and Inclusion - the story so far (published 8/10/18)



By Peter Eötvös Based on the play by Roland Schimmelpfennig

Migration, exploitation, hopes and lost dreams are at the heart of The Golden Dragon, a compelling fable of modern life - funny, shocking and touching in equal measure.

Central to this East-meets-West tale, is the discovery of a decayed tooth in a bowl of soup. It belongs to a kitchen “boy”, a long way from home and with no papers. He’s also looking for his sister, but she’s been forced into a very different kind of service just next door….


Part-comedy, part-tragedy, The Golden Dragon is set in a pan-Asian restaurant and follows the story of a Chinese immigrant working illegally in the kitchen. Experiencing terrible toothache, and unable to seek medical help because of his illegal status he has no choice but to accept the best efforts of his kitchen colleagues, with tragic consequences. Meanwhile, a parallel story about an abusive Ant and vulnerable Cricket brutally highlights the plight of the many people who find themselves on the edge of society. This is a new opera with an especially powerful relevance in the here and now.


“This production follows a similar approach to our award-winning staging of Greek – the orchestra takes pride of place on stage, participating in every moment as players and observers. They perform alongside a cast of flamboyant theatrical performers, playing multiple roles with relish and passion, switching from comedy to pathos and from passionate engagement to cool narration. And all the while the opera reveals the potential horrors facing those who seek refuge in foreign lands, notably our own Western and supposedly civilised society.

This opera should have you laughing one moment and despairing the next. Our approach is to revel in the vital and virtuosic score which animates the drama, and to first present the singers as performers who introduce the characters they are about to play. We want to draw people into a world that is at first slapstick and fun but which turns distinctly nasty, not least with the fable of the Cricket and the Ant which starts in the land of storytelling but quickly gets mixed up in the cruel world surrounding the restaurant.”

Michael McCarthy, Director



In April 2017 Music Theatre Wales is travelling to South Korea for performances of The Golden Dragon at the Tongyeong International Music Festival, with support from The British Council.