“After spending a considerable amount of time with Williams’ operas, I feel he is not a natural opera composer and may in fact have had little experience of earlier opera. In fact this leads to a freshness of approach, and if we take a relaxed view of genre, and think more in terms of telling stories with music, The Prodigal Child and The Juniper Passion have much to interest with their poetic texts and ‘polystylistic’ (Williams’ description) scores, both of which have moments of striking beauty and power. They were certainly worth recording, and the recordings are of excellent quality; whether the operas can establish themselves as viable stage works outside New Zealand remains to be seen.” David Chandler, musicweb-international.com
"Remarkably for a new Zealand opera, where even a solitary production seems a miracle, Michael Williams' The Prodigal Child celebrated its third season in Auckland last night." New Zealand Herald October 2003
"It is an intimate, serious and moving work that grapples with deep and powerful themes, achieving much in its hour long duration." Christchurch Times July 2003
“The Prodigal Child could not have been better cast. Whelan used his towering stage presence and dramatic authority to capture the mercurial mood-shifts of his character. Joanne Cole was heart-rending as Anna, catching all the sorrows of the world in a lullaby refrain...The Prodigal Child is a mighty achievement for the festival and the opera company.” William Dart, NZ Herald.