Madame Butterfly Cast

Conductor: Peter Yanez

Director: Jennifer Cox

Pianist: Jonathan Cambry

Joelle Lamarre (Butterfly)

Joelle Lamarre makes her American Chamber Opera Debut. Other Chicago credits include: Madame de la Grand Bouche/Ensemble (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Lady on the Levee in Show Boat (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Lily in Porgy in Bess (Court Theatre); and Aunt Elizabeth in The Nativity (Goodman Theatre, Congo Square Theatre). International touring credits include Serena in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (New York Harlem Productions). In 2006 she appeared in several shows at Universal Studios of Japan in Osaka, including the Blues Brothers and White Christmas Carol. Ms. Lamarre has received awards from the Bel Canto Foundation and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. She received a MM in vocal performance from Northwestern University, where she created the role of Flora in T. J. Anderson’s Slipknot.

Curtis Bannister (Lt. B.F. Pinkerton)

In the 2012-13 season, Mr. Bannister makes his professional ballet debut as an ensemble member (Ravel’s Bolero) with the Paris Opera Ballet as part of their 2012 U.S. Tour, returns to the St. John Cantius Resurrection Choir & Orchestra to sing both Mozart’s Missa brevis [F Major] and Schubert’s Mass No. 2 [G Major], makes his role debut as Lt. B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the American Chamber Opera, and makes his debut with Utah Festival Opera as the soloist in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Steuermann in Der fliegende Höllander and covering the title role in Verdi’s Otello. Other operatic repertoire to Mr. Bannister’s credit include Faust (Faust-cvr), Rodolfo (La Boheme), Peppe (Donizetti’s Rita), Pollione (Norma), Fritz (L’amico Fritz), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Tito (La Clemenza di Tito), Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), the Schoolmaster (The Cunning Little Vixen), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Barinkay (Der Ziegeunerbaron), Sheldon Segal in the world premiere of John Musto’s Later the Same, and Pirelli (Sweeney Todd). Mr. Bannister’s past concert repertoire performances include Beethoven’s Mass in C, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vesparae Solennes de Confessore, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass [Mass in G Major], Bach’s Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, Britten’s War Requiem, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Haydn’s St. Theresa Mass [Mass in B-minor].

Bradley Schuller (Lt. B.F. Pinkerton)

Tenor Bradley Schuller is very excited to make his debut with American Chamber Opera singing the role of Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly.  In his career, Mr. Schuller has performed over in over 30 operatic roles including Rodolfo in La Boheme, Don Jose in Carmen, Alfredo in La Traviata, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Canio in I Pagliacci,  Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Tamino in Magic Flute, Judge Danforth in The Crucible, Laurie in Little Women to name a few favorites.  He has performed leading roles all across Chicagoland for Chamber Opera of Chicago, Verismo Opera, Light Opera Works, Intimate Opera, Opera M.O.D.A., American Opera Group, DuPage Opera Theater and others.  Bradley has performed in Germany, Italy and toured the midwest with Opera for the Young’s productions of Elixir of Love and Rusalka.  Other career highlights include two summers with the prestigious Central City Opera company in Colorado.  In addition to opera, Mr. Schuller has performed with many orchestras in over a dozen oratorios including Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Respighi’sLaud for the Nativity.  Bradley is a proud inagural member of Chamber Opera of Chicago’s perfoming artist ensemble and performs regularly with other local groups.  In addition to his musical career, he is a Manager of Treasury and Payroll for a manufacturing firm.  Bradley is grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be working with ACO and is looking forward to making musical history with this rising company!

Gwendolyn Brown (Sakina)

Contralto Gwendolyn Brown’s performances of traditional, 20th century opera, concert, symphonic works has earned her consistently high critical acclaim.  To hear Gwendolyn Brown “is to experience that primal thrill which comes in the presence of a singer whose fusion of soul with a vast, resonant instrument is total” (Saugerties Post Star).  ”Her dusky voice inhabited the music so completely, we were spellbound” (The Oregonian).  Her “stirring, solo voice can rise above the crowd and harness audience attention” (Andrew Beck, Hartford Arts Examiner).  As one critic states, her singing is simply “Stunning” (Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun Times).  Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Gwendolyn Brown obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Fisk University, Nashville, TN, and pursued the Master’s degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Memphis.  Her young artist development included the Des Moines Metro Opera Young Artist Program and The Ryan Center for American Artists of Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Ms. Brown currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, and has performed for many opera companies including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, and New Orleans Opera.  She has also performed for the Boston Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony’s “Beyond the Score” series; Chicago Sinfonietta as well as companies overseas in Germany, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Bernadette Garza (Sakina)

Mezzo-soprano Bernadette Garza  is thrilled to be making her debut with American Chamber Opera Company. She is a Master of Music graduate of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she studied with soprano Judith Haddon.

At Roosevelt, she appeared in productions of The Mikado, The Impresario, and performed the role Dorabella in a co-production of Così fan tutte with the Chicago Opera Theatre diploma program. Upon graduation, Bernadette has appeared in various productions within the Chicagoland area. Favorites include the role of Sarah in Porchlight Theater’s Ragtime, Trio and various roles in Next Theatre’s Trouble In Tahiti/American Dream Songbook, and ensemble member/understudy to the Third Secretary in Chicago Opera Theater’s Nixon in China. Most recently, she worked as a young artist in La Traviata with Music by the Lake and Candide with Cedar Rapids Opera Company.

Keenan McCarter (Sharpless)

Baritone Keenan McCarter is well-known for the dramatism and athleticism that he brings to the stage. He made his professional operatic debut with Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival in 2012 as the Duke of Verona in Roméo et Juliet. Other operatic roles include: Dr. Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro,Orgon in Tartuffe, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Escamillo in La Tragedié  de Carmen, Schaunard in La Bohéme, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. Mr. McCarter has made solo appearances with Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Southern Great Lakes Symphony Orchestra, Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival, American Chamber Opera, Candid Concert Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhood. He has placed 2nd and 3rd in the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization Vocal Competition, the National Association of Teachers of Singing Classical Competition and the Alabama State University Honors Competition. Mr. McCarter is currently advanced to the preliminary round of the Bel Canto Foundation Competition.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Mr. McCarter completed his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Vocal Performance at Alabama State University. Mr. McCarter has appeared in master classes at Vann Vocal Institute with David Cangelosi and at Alabama State University with Dr. Lena Mclin.

Brandon Brown (Sharpless)

Brandon Brown has a passion for music that shines throughout his performances across the city. He earned his degree as a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Eastern Illinois University and his Master’s in Voice from CCPA at Roosevelt University. Brandon has portrayed The Sactristan in Tosca, Luther and Crespel in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Pausanias in Une Education Manquée, Monsieur Choufleuri in RSVP, Hucklebee in The Fantasticks; as well as partial roles: Antonio, Figaro, and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Marquis de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites and Morales in Carmen. His opera chorus experience includes performances of Aida, Djamileh, Candide, and L’enfant et les Sortilèges. Mr. Brown sang the baritone solos in Brahms’ Requiem, Dubois’ Seven Last Words, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Linda Twine’s Changed My Name, and Duruflé’s Requiem. He is an Associate Conductor of the Chicago Community Chorus, and Minister of Music at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Brandon has studied and coached with David Holloway, Scott Gilmore, Dana Brown, and Giulio Favario.

Marcel Miller (Goro)

Christopher Skyles (Bonze)

Lyric Baritone Christopher Skyles’ vocal talent was discovered by his freshman college roommate (a music major) who heard him sing in their room at the dorm, and ‘dared’ him to try out for his college choir because Christopher thought he was ‘too cool to sing’ . Christopher became lead soloist for his college choir all four years and has been singing ever since. He is known for his clear and powerful singing voice, versatility in several vocal styles, and expertise as a wedding soloist. Previous experience includes having sung for the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, The South Shore Opera Company, The Savoyaires, The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle, Ecclesia, Jedlicka Performing Arts, The Greater Chicago Opera Guild, Classic Act Choral Ensemble, and the Baroque Choral Ensemble City Musick. He has portrayed both Figaro and Antonio (Le Nozze Di Figaro), Tom (Blue Monday), The Innkeeper (Man of La Mancha), Cecil B. DeMille (Sunset Blvd) and was also a Featured Baritone in Phantom of the Opera. Christopher also enjoys singing for various church services throughout Chicago. Chris had the honor of portraying Rev. G.R. Haughton in ‘The March: A Civil Rights Opera’ in 2012. He has produced ‘Silver and Gold’, a holiday benefit concert for the Mission at Our Lady of the Angels for 2 years which has raised over $10000 toward the renovation of the Mission. Christopher is dedicated to mentoring youth with his ‘if I can do it, you can’ attitude. Christopher holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism/Communications from Roosevelt University.

Sean Harris (Yamadori)

Katherine Bergmann (Kate Pinkerton)


Katherine Bergman regularly performs in the United States as a soloist in opera, oratorio, and Broadway engagements. Her recent roles include Floria Tosca in Tosca, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Susanna in Susanna’s Secret. In addition, she has performed concertized scenes and selections from operas in the roles of Leonora in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Elizabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Turandot in Turandot, Norma in Norma, and the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She has appeared with many opera companies including the DuPage Opera, Sorg Opera, Genesis Opera, and Main Street Opera. Her concert engagements include major oratorio works by Schubert, Handel, and Mozart as well as major concert works by Beethoven, Berlioz and Barber. Ms. Bergman performs internationally; appearing in concerts throughout Germany (Munich, Frankfort, Trier, and Würzburg), Italy (Piobbico) and France (Grenoble).

Lauren Auge (Kate Pinkerton)

Freddie Collier (Imperial Commissioner)

Bass-Baritone Freddie Collier is thrilled to be making his debut with American Chamber Opera this season as the Imperial Commissioner. He is currently enrolled at Northeastern Illinois University where he has sung in Street Scene (City Marshall Henry and Ensemble), A Christmas Carol (Ensemble), and La Favorita (Balthazar) under the direction of Sasha Gerritson.

Qiana McNary (Cousin)

Qiana McNary is a graduate of Roosevelt University-Chicago College of Performing Arts where she finished a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance. She began her vocal studies and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University where she received her Bachelor of Music Degree. In the summer of 2007, Qiana furthered her vocal studies at The Italian Operatic Experience in Urbania, Italy. She has performed in numerous opera theater productions in and out of the country, and premiered a hip-hop opera at the DuSable Museum – Chicago. In the spring of 2009, she was a featured singer on the Chicago WGN Morning News for the Opera Idol presentation for young opera singers in the Chicago area. She is a proud member of Mu Phi Epsilon music honorary and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Currently Ms. McNary is the soprano soloist at Hyde Park Union Church.

Dana Campbell (Aunt)