First Coast Opera to present ‘Madama Butterfly’


One of the world’s most popular operas comes to St. Augustine next month, when First Coast Opera presents a fully-staged production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

Featuring a professional cast and orchestra, the production will be performed Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium in downtown St. Augustine. The performance will include projected English translations for the Italian opera.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan in 1900, “Madama Butterfly” recounts the story of an American soldier who weds a young Japanese girl. Though shunned by her family, Madame Butterfly embraces her new relationship and culture. Her American husband takes the ceremony less seriously, however, and marries a “real” bride back home in the United States. When the soldier later returns to Japan and realizes the seriousness of his earlier mistake, the opera ends tragically as the former geisha accepts the fate her culture demands.

Soprano Shannon Kessler Dooley will perform the title role. Dooley last appeared with First Coast Opera in its November production of “Opera Paris.” The North Carolina resident has sung with Pittsburgh Opera and the Spoleto Festival.

The role of her American suitor, Lieutenant Pinkerton, will be sung by tenor Josh Kohl, making his company debut. Recent appearances for Kohl include Seattle Opera and Sarasota Opera. Baritone Cory Schantz sings the role of American Consul Sharpless. He coordinates the opera program at Reinhardt University in Georgia, where he has also sung with Atlanta Opera. International opera singer and Saint Augustine resident Lisa Lockhart, meanwhile, makes her company debut in the role of Suzuki.

Vermont-based Helena Binder will direct the production, which will be conducted by FCO Artistic Director Curtis Tucker.

Reserved seats are $40 for adults and $10 for students. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit