[Met Performance] CID:101340
Madama Butterfly {202} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/5/1929.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 5, 1929


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {202}

Cio-Cio-San.............Maria Müller
Pinkerton...............Edward Johnson
Suzuki..................Ina Bourskaya
Sharpless...............Antonio Scotti
Goro....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Bonze...................William Gustafson
Yamadori................Pompilio Malatesta
Kate Pinkerton..........Phradie Wells
Commissioner............Millo Picco
Yakuside................Paolo Quintina

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

Review of Linton Martin in the Philadelphia Inquirer

'MADAMA BUTTERFLY' WITH MARIA MÜLLER

Makes Excellent Impression in Fair Performance by Metropolitan Opera Co.

"Madama Butterfly" has been sung here in recent season by Italian, American, English, German and Japanese prima donnas. But the presentation of this popular Puccini work by the Metropolitan Opera Company in the Academy last night disclosed the novelty, for Philadelphia, of a Czechoslovak in the title role, when Maria Müller made her first appearance here as the pathetic little Cio-Cio-San.

She made an excellent and outstanding impression in a performance that was always adequate, if seldom inspired. Miss Müller, who has been associated chiefly with the German wing of the Metropolitan, and whose Sieglinde of several season ago has not since been surpassed, sang the persuasive and appealing music of Butterfly with freshness, fullness and fine flexibility and her characterization was convincing and individual in it effectiveness. She was attractive in appearance, and her make-up accentuated the illusion of her impersonation. She was, indeed, the only member of the cast who was always easily audible above the sometimes unduly noisy orchestra conducted by Vincenzo Bellezza, and in various dramatic details she was refreshingly free from the rut of routine, although it is a question whether the ending now regularly employed by the Metropolitan - of having Butterfly on the stage alone, for her death, without the baby or the belated Pinkerton - is as stirring as the old version.

Edward Johnson, the Canadian tenor, also was a "first timer" here in "Butterfly." In the conventional clothes of an American naval lieutenant, he lost the picturesque appeal he exerted in "The Love of Three Kings," and both his singing and acting were rather subdued. It was an able but never exciting performance. Perhaps the Italians are the best operatic Americans, after all!

The veteran Scotti, again romped through the role of the consul, Sharpless, employing his now familiar methods of declamatory style. Giordano Paltrinieri was an extremely energetic Goro, and Ina Bourskaya was once more the dark-toned Suzuki. Others were Pompilio Malatesta, William Gustafson, Paolo Quintina and Millo Picco, and there was a well-behaved child.



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