Winter Opera News

The reviews of Madama Butterfly are in!

From Broadway World’s Steve Callahan

“Such astonishing voices! Winter Opera, in St. Louis, has been offering splendid singers for 15 seasons now. But I’ve never heard more brilliant voices than those flourished by the cast in Winter Opera’s latest production, Giacomo Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY. These are of truly Olympian quality.”

From The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Fred Blumenthal

“Among the singers, the two male protagonists stood out: Pinkereton, sung by tenor Jonathan Kaufman, and Sharpless, the US Counsel, sung by baritone Michael Nansel. Both had magnificent voices and more than enough power to be understood by the orchestra. Kaufman, with his girth and great skill in long-held highs, is reminiscent of Luciano Pavarotti.”

From KDHX’s Chuck Lavazzi

“The best combination of acting and singing skills, though, can be found among the supporting roles. In addition to Nansel’s compassionate Sharpless, we have mezzo Sara Louise Petrocelli’s tragically loyal Suzuki, bass-baritone Joseph Park as the romantically disappointed Prince Yamadori, and tenor Marc Schapman as the scheming marriage broker Goro. Director Mark Freiman also has an impressive moment in the cameo bass role of The Bonze, who self-righteously excoriates Butterfly for converting to “the American God.””

From HEC’s Gerry Kowarsky

Winter Opera’s production is a beautiful account of the score by the orchestra and singers under conductor Ed Benyas and chorus master Jesse Cunningham. Mark Freiman’s thoughtful stage direction has a formality that fits the story. The principals sing beautifully and provide solid characterizations. Seon Duk Kim epitomizes the devotion that make Cio-Cio-San so sympathetic. Jonathan Kaufman embodies Pinkerton’s brashness in the first act and his remorse in the third. Sara Louise Petrocelli captures the loyalty of the servant, Suzuki. Michael Nansel convincingly portrays Sharpless, the well-meaning but ineffectual American counsel. “

From The Ladue New’s Mark Bretz

“Freiman’s direction was straightforward and effective, utilizing Scott Loebl’s handsome scenic design, costume designer Lauren Smith Bearden’s pinpoint historic attire both for Japanese and American characters, Laura Skroska’s props and Jessica Dana’s wigs and makeup – all in prominent usage on the wide Kirkwood Performing Arts Center stage. Conductor Ed Benyas elicited a strong reading of Puccini’s sobering score by the Winter Opera orchestra, with Jesse Cunningham contributing as chorus master and pianist.”