Photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC
The critics have high praise and our patrons are well-pleased … but come see and hear for yourself at our final performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on Sunday, July 1 at 3 pm! Buy tickets online or call the McCarter Ticket Office at 609.258.2787.
Nancy Plum notes “impressive visuals and singing” in Town Topics:
Princeton Festival’s presentation Saturday night at McCarter Theatre Center’s Matthews Theatre was every bit the crowd-pleaser it should be, showcasing several stand-out singers in the process. Some operas lend themselves to restaging in other time periods, but Madama Butterfly is best left in its original timeframe of late 19th-early 20th-century Japan….
Tenor Matthew White sang the role of Pinkerton with consistent sensitivity…. [Yulia] Lysenko [singing Butterfly] in particular showed that Puccini’s music was written for a voice such as hers; gliding across the stage in quasi-platform flip-flops, Lysenko floated higher musical passages over the orchestral accompaniment and clearly was not afraid to sing at a pianissimo volume to make a theatrical or musical point…. A powerhouse singer was heard in mezzo-soprano Janara Kellerman, singing the role of Butterfly’s servant Suzuki…. Baritone Paul La Rosa brought a solid vocal performance to the role of Sharpless, the American consul, while tenor Anthony Webb sang the part of marriage broker Goro with an element of jaunty humor.
Elaine Strauss calls ours a “handsome production” in U.S. 1 and sends kudos to the creative staff, not just the artists:
Teamwork lies behind the production of the tragic tale. Director Steven LaCosse imaginatively oversees the scheme of the work. Set designer Wally Coberg transports us to the Japanese town of Nagasaki with a house whose sliding doors permit a multitude of spatial configurations. Lighting designer Norman Coates treats us to colorful dawns and nightfalls that go beyond mere light and dark. Costume master Marie Miller contributes dress that is riveting, authentic, and manageable.
Conductor Richard Tang Yuk, at the podium, keeps the pacing lively or poignant, as the drama demands. He resists a common impulse to revise the show. In his hands the listener easily detects Puccini’s blend of western and Japanese musical elements.
James C. Taylor writes for NJ Advance Media (affiliated with The Star-Ledger):
… provide[s] the visceral thrill that only live opera can deliver.
… solid performances of the two leads … hit the high notes in the important scenes …
Wei Wu in the role of The Bonze … made a thrilling entrance in Act 1.
But just as important as receiving positive reviews from critics, our audience is also loving Madama Butterfly, too!
“Beautiful production and a pleasure all around.” – Paula Fishman
“Magnificent performance …. Yulia Lysenko was outstanding.” –Randy Larrimore
“We don’t think we’ve ever seen a more beautifully directed and coherent production, accompanied as it was by superb vocal and instrumental performances. We have no hesitation in saying we have never enjoyed a performance of this opera more.” – Willo Carey and Peter Benoliel