BWW Reviews: MADAMA BUTTERFLY Hits Many of the Right Notes at the McCallum

Related: Opera, Madama Butterfly, Puccini, McCallum Theatre, Palms Springs

The sets, the costumes, the lighting effects and the stage props were all of a community college level. The door on the Shouji kept getting stuck when Suzuki attempted to close it gingerly and at one point tea was served on a bed tray found at Walmart, totally out of period. My expectations were higher.

The supporting cast were equally tremendous vocalists. Dobromir Momekov's Sharpless was a solid anchor in the cast and Viara Zhelezova's Suzuki was more emotionally layered than her mistress, Butterfly. The trio between Pinkerton, Sharpless and Suzuki was one of the evening's finer moments. Perez's "Un Bel Di" aria was also a standout and was the only mid-show moment to receive spontaneous applause. Sadly, both Butterfly's suicide and Pinkerton's discovery of her body were cold, melodramatic and anti-climatic. The opera was performed with a full orchestra (bravo) and without any microphone amplification - which was, for the most part a big plus --- however, more often than not, the male vocalists were drowned out by the orchestra, especially in dramatic moments when both the singers and orchestra were at full throttle. The female vocalists all seemed to rise above the orchestra for most of the show.

Hooray for The McCallum for including Opera in their wonderfully eclectic season. Up next - the legendary Barbara Cook and then the incomparable Linda Eder. For more information or tickets visit

More On: Barbara Cook, Linda Eder,

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David Green David Green is the Executive Director of The American Foundation For Arts Education, founded by Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry Kullijian -- working to restore the Arts to our nation?s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed "Musical Theatre University", a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominees Matthew Morrison and Stephanie Block, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez, Krysta Rodriguez, Scott Barnhardt and Anneliese VanDerPol to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, JoAnne Worley, Rex Smith, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is the Regional Editor and Reviewer for the Inland Empire of Southern California.

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