July 5, 2023

First-Ever Opera Series at Kelsey Theatre This Summer

VERDI AND PUCCINI: Two famous operas are on stage this summer at Kelsey Theatre, on the campus of Mercer County Community College. Shown here is a scene from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre and New Jersey Lyric Opera (NJLO) have a weekend of opera in store on MCCC’s West Windsor campus, July 7-9. Verdi’s La Traviata and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly are featured in the first-ever opera summer series on the Kelsey stage.

La Traviata (July 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m.) is a timeless tale of love starring a double cast that includes international soprano Holly Gash, tenor John Villemaire, and Verdi baritone, Chaka Allen. Madama Butterfly (July 8 and 9 at 2 p.m.) tells a lasting story of passion, culture, unrequited love, and tragedy that also stars a double cast. It is one of opera’s most enduring tales of unrequited love that follows the tragic tale of Cio Cio San, a young Japanese girl who falls in love with American naval officer Pinkerton, with devastating consequences.

“It really is the juxtaposition of culture set to music that makes this story feel real when performed,” said John Calkins, the artistic director for NJLO. “Puccini was great at setting the ambience for the human condition that is breath-taking. Love and honor are a major part of this story and Butterfly is just that. You’ll also find iconic themes like the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘Sakura’ that are songs still being taught in our schools today.”

Visit Kelseytheatre.org for tickets.