BaL 23.03.24 - Puccini: Madame Butterfly

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  • Pulcinella
    Host
    • Feb 2014
    • 10097

    BaL 23.03.24 - Puccini: Madame Butterfly

    10.30am
    Building a Library

    Puccini: Madame Butterfly

    Puccini's searing tragedy about a young geisha who falls in love with an American naval officer has been a staple in the recording studio for many decades. Nigel Simeone picks his ultimate recommendation to buy, download or stream.​

    Available recordings (or a selection) to follow.
  • Pulcinella
    Host
    • Feb 2014
    • 10097

    #2
    While Alpie is taking a well-deserved break, I'm launching the next few BaL threads.

    As you might imagine, there are many recordings, and it's a real labour of love to produce the detailed lists that Alpie usually does.
    I might get around to compiling a list to add in that original post, but with not so much detail (orchestra/conductor/possibly Butterfly and Pinkerton).

    In the meantime, though, here's a link to the listings on the Presto site where I'd be getting the information from.

    This page lists all recordings of Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (1858–1924).
    Last edited by Pulcinella; 09-03-24, 19:12.

    Comment

    • gradus
      Full Member
      • Nov 2010
      • 5477

      #3
      Excellent, my favourite Puccini opera especially conducted by Barbirolli although I enjoy the Santini recording with Victoria de Los Angeles and the incomparable Bjorling.

      Comment

      • Pulcinella
        Host
        • Feb 2014
        • 10097

        #4
        It's the Barbirolli here too, but I also have Serafin (with Tebaldi and Bergonzi in the main roles).

        Comment

        • Pulcinella
          Host
          • Feb 2014
          • 10097

          #5
          Partial discography taken from Wiki.


          Audio recordings: cast given in order
          Cio-Cio San, Pinkerton, Suzuki, Sharpless
          1921 Ottavia Giordano,
          Santo Santonocito,
          Ginevra Amato,
          Adolfo Pacini
          Carlo Sabajno
          Teatro alla Scala orchestra and chorus
          1929 Rosetta Pampanini,
          Alessandro Granda,
          Conchita Velasquez,
          Gino Vanelli
          Lorenzo Molajoli
          Teatro alla Scala orchestra and chorus
          1929-30 Margaret Burke Sheridan,
          Lionello Cecil,
          Ida Mannarini,
          Vittorio Weinberg
          Carlo Sabajno
          Teatro alla Scala orchestra and chorus
          1939 Toti Dal Monte,
          Beniamino Gigli,
          Vittoria Palombini,
          Mario Basiola
          Oliviero De Fabritiis
          Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma orchestra and chorus
          1948 Eleanor Steber,
          Jan Peerce,
          Suzanne Carré,

          Richard Bonelli
          Eugene Ormandy
          Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and chorus
          1949 Eleanor Steber,
          Richard Tucker,
          Jean Madeira,
          Giuseppe Valdengo
          Max Rudolf
          Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
          1951 Renata Tebaldi,
          Giuseppe Campora,
          Nell Rankin,
          Giovanni Inghilleri
          Alberto Erede
          Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia orchestra and chorus
          1953 Clara Petrella,
          Ferruccio Tagliavini,
          Mafalda Masini,

          Giuseppe Taddei
          Angelo Questa
          RAI National Symphony Orchestra and chorus
          1954 Victoria de los Ángeles,
          Giuseppe Di Stefano,
          Anna Maria Canali,

          Tito Gobbi
          Gianandrea Gavazzeni
          Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma orchestra and chorus
          1955 Maria Callas,
          Nicolai Gedda,
          Lucia Danieli,
          Mario Borriello
          Herbert von Karajan
          Teatro alla Scala orchestra and chorus
          1956 Dorothy Kirsten,
          Daniele Barioni,
          Mildred Miller,
          Clifford Harvuot
          Dimitri Mitropoulos
          Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
          1957 Anna Moffo,
          Cesare Valletti,
          Rosalind Elias,
          Renato Cesari
          Erich Leinsdorf
          Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma orchestra and chorus
          1958 Renata Tebaldi,
          Carlo Bergonzi,
          Fiorenza Cossotto,
          Enzo Sordello
          Tullio Serafin
          Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia orchestra and chorus
          1959 Victoria de los Ángeles,
          Jussi Björling,
          Miriam Pirazzini,
          Mario Sereni
          Gabriele Santini
          Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma orchestra and chorus
          1962 Leontyne Price,
          Richard Tucker,
          Rosalind Elias,
          Philip Maero
          Erich Leinsdorf
          RCA Italiana Orchestra and chorus
          1966 Renata Scotto,
          Carlo Bergonzi,
          Anna di Stasio,

          Rolando Panerai
          John Barbirolli
          Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma orchestra and chorus
          1974 Mirella Freni,
          Luciano Pavarotti,
          Christa Ludwig,
          Robert Kerns
          Herbert von Karajan
          Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
          Vienna State Opera chorus
          1976 Montserrat Caballé,
          Bernabé Martí,
          Silvana Mazzieri,
          Franco Bordoni
          Armando Gatto
          Gran Teatre del Liceu orchestra and chorus
          1977 Renata Scotto,
          Plácido Domingo,
          Gillian Knight,
          Ingvar Wixell
          Lorin Maazel
          Philharmonia Orchestra
          Ambrosian Opera Chorus
          1987 Mirella Freni,
          José Carreras,
          Teresa Berganza,
          Juan Pons
          Giuseppe Sinopoli
          Philharmonia Orchestra
          Ambrosian Opera Chorus
          1991 Miriam Gauci,
          Yordy Ramiro,
          Nelly Boschkowá,
          Georg Tichy
          Alexander Rahbari
          Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
          Slovak Philharmonic chorus
          1997 Svetlana Katchour,
          Bruce Rankin,
          Fredrika Brillemburg,
          Heikki Kilpelainen
          Günter Neuhold
          Bremer Philharmoniker Staatsorchester
          Bremer Theater chorus (Original 1904 version)
          2008 Angela Gheorghiu,
          Jonas Kaufmann,
          Enkelejda Shkosa,
          Fabio Capitanucci
          Antonio Pappano
          Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia orchestra and chorus

          Comment

          • makropulos
            Full Member
            • Nov 2010
            • 1631

            #6
            One fascinating set is not listed in that Wiki discography: a 4-CD version which includes the original Milan 1904 version together with variants/revisions from Brescia 1904 and Paris 1906. I'm not going to be discussing it on BAL as it's not a particularly distinguished performance, but for anyone interested in the evolution of the opera it's really intriguing. It's on Vox 47525 conducted by Charles Rosenkranz with Maria Spacagna, Richard Di Renzi, Sharon Graham and Eric Park with the Orchestra and Chorus of Hungarian State Opera.

            Another omission is Rudolf Kempe at the ROH with Victoria de Los Angeles et al, on Opus Arte (formerly ROH Heritage ROHS006. That one I will be mentioning.

            Comment

            • Pulcinella
              Host
              • Feb 2014
              • 10097

              #7
              Originally posted by makropulos View Post
              One fascinating set is not listed in that Wiki discography: a 4-CD version which includes the original Milan 1904 version together with variants/revisions from Brescia 1904 and Paris 1906. I'm not going to be discussing it on BAL as it's not a particularly distinguished performance, but for anyone interested in the evolution of the opera it's really intriguing. It's on Vox 47525 conducted by Charles Rosenkranz with Maria Spacagna, Richard Di Renzi, Sharon Graham and Eric Park with the Orchestra and Chorus of Hungarian State Opera.

              Another omission is Rudolf Kempe at the ROH with Victoria de Los Angeles et al, on Opus Arte (formerly ROH Heritage ROHS006. That one I will be mentioning.
              Thanks for those pointers.
              Looking forward to this edition very much (though it's not my favourite Puccini opera).

              Comment

              • CallMePaul
                Full Member
                • Jan 2014
                • 737

                #8
                It seems a little ironic that Caballé sings the title role opposite her husband as Pinkerton! I have the Barbirolli set but I don't listen to recorded opera very often. Having seen the opera more than once both in the opera house and on TV I can well understand why so many sopranos want to sing it even if they are not physically suited to the role on stage. Apart from the Act1 love duet, however, Pinkerton does not seem a particularly interesting role (and of course he is worse than a love rat) and I am certainly surprised that heavier-voiced tenors such as Domingo and Kaufmann have sung it. There is a surprising amount of luxury casing of Sharpless and Suzuki, which would not happen in the opera house.

                I will be out of the country when this is broadcast but may catch it later on Sounds, although I see no reason to change or add to my Barbirolli recording.

                Comment

                • Pulcinella
                  Host
                  • Feb 2014
                  • 10097

                  #9
                  Originally posted by CallMePaul View Post
                  It seems a little ironic that Caballé sings the title role opposite her husband as Pinkerton! I have the Barbirolli set but I don't listen to recorded opera very often. Having seen the opera more than once both in the opera house and on TV I can well understand why so many sopranos want to sing it even if they are not physically suited to the role on stage. Apart from the Act1 love duet, however, Pinkerton does not seem a particularly interesting role (and of course he is worse than a love rat) and I am certainly surprised that heavier-voiced tenors such as Domingo and Kaufmann have sung it. There is a surprising amount of luxury casing of Sharpless and Suzuki, which would not happen in the opera house.

                  I will be out of the country when this is broadcast but may catch it later on Sounds, although I see no reason to change or add to my Barbirolli recording.
                  Both on the roster at the Licieu, I guess.

                  It's relatively easy to suspend yet another dimension when simply listening not watching, but I fear that for me Cio-Cio-San needs to be a more youthful voice than many of the listed great (and not only in size) soloists who sing the role in recordings might reveal; she's only a 15-year-old geisha at the start.
                  I looked to see who premiered the role, and discovered that the first performance was a disaster, and led to several revisions, which I'm sure Nigel will touch on.
                  In both the world premiere at La Scala on 17 February 1904 (two-act version) and the subsequent three-act revision performed on 28 May 1904 in Brescia, the (different) Butterflies were born in 1872, so perhaps Puccini was not so bothered about verismo in that sense!

                  Comment

                  • LHC
                    Full Member
                    • Jan 2011
                    • 1485

                    #10
                    Originally posted by CallMePaul View Post
                    It seems a little ironic that Caballé sings the title role opposite her husband as Pinkerton! I have the Barbirolli set but I don't listen to recorded opera very often. Having seen the opera more than once both in the opera house and on TV I can well understand why so many sopranos want to sing it even if they are not physically suited to the role on stage. Apart from the Act1 love duet, however, Pinkerton does not seem a particularly interesting role (and of course he is worse than a love rat) and I am certainly surprised that heavier-voiced tenors such as Domingo and Kaufmann have sung it. There is a surprising amount of luxury casing of Sharpless and Suzuki, which would not happen in the opera house.

                    I will be out of the country when this is broadcast but may catch it later on Sounds, although I see no reason to change or add to my Barbirolli recording.
                    According to a (possibly apocryphal) story, Giuseppe di Stefano would only look at his part rather than the whole opera when accepting new parts. On this basis, he always refused offers to sing Pinkerton because he doesn't appear at all in the 2nd Act, and he therefore regarded it as an inferior and secondary role. He was only persuaded to sing it when his Agent told him that, although he doesn't appear himself, the soprano spends the whole of the 2nd Act singing about him.

                    I have the luxurious Karajan VPO recording with Pavarotti and Freni and the Pappano with Gheorghui on CD as well as the Barbirolli and Santini on LP. I also have the Neuhold recording of the 1904 version on CD.

                    I also have the Pappano blu-ray with Ermonela Jaho, which I think is preferable to his CD recording.
                    "I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square."
                    Lady Bracknell The importance of Being Earnest

                    Comment

                    • Eine Alpensinfonie
                      Host
                      • Nov 2010
                      • 20529

                      #11
                      I have Barbirolli 1966 and Karajan 1974. The Karajan has Pavarotti and Freni at their peak, and for me it ranks among the greatest recordings ever made.

                      Comment

                      • Ein Heldenleben
                        Full Member
                        • Apr 2014
                        • 6027

                        #12
                        Went to see the Madama Butterfly general rehearsal at Covent Garden yesterday . Asmik Grigorian was sensational. One of the best I’ve ever heard live .Yet again the audience booed Pinkerton even though it was very well sung by Joshua Guerrero. This panto habit has crept into opera over the years .l wish people would stop it - these people are artists not pantomime dames . Just try singing one phrase of Dovunque Al Mondo full voice and legato and you’ll appreciate how very difficult it is.
                        Anyway it’s a superb production and this is a very good revival led by a real star.,

                        Comment

                        • gradus
                          Full Member
                          • Nov 2010
                          • 5477

                          #13
                          I've never heard booing at Pinkerton but how b****y infantile.

                          Comment

                          • Ein Heldenleben
                            Full Member
                            • Apr 2014
                            • 6027

                            #14
                            Originally posted by gradus View Post
                            I've never heard booing at Pinkerton but how b****y infantile.
                            There was also booing of Scarpia at another recent general . Needless to say the singer was absolutely superb. It’s getting ridiculous…

                            Comment

                            • Pulcinella
                              Host
                              • Feb 2014
                              • 10097

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Ein Heldenleben View Post

                              There was also booing of Scarpia at another recent general . Needless to say the singer was absolutely superb. It’s getting ridiculous…
                              One does wonder though if they don't encourage and revel in it, taking it as an indication that they performed their role well.

                              I'm wondering now if I should boo Nick Shadow when I see ETO's Rake here next month.

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