[Met Performance] CID:141900
Madama Butterfly {268} Matinee ed. Fair Park Auditorium, Dallas, Texas: 05/19/1946.

(Review)


Dallas, Texas
May 19, 1946 Matinee


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {268}

Cio-Cio-San.............Licia Albanese
Pinkerton...............Charles Kullman
Suzuki..................Lucielle Browning
Sharpless...............John Brownlee
Goro....................Alessio De Paolis
Bonze...................Osie Hawkins
Yamadori................George Cehanovsky
Kate Pinkerton..........Maxine Stellman
Commissioner............John Baker

Conductor...............Cesare Sodero

Review of John Rosenfield in the Dallas Morning News

Metropolitan Finale Stars Miss Albanese

If Cesare Sodero had conducted Sunday afternoon's "Madama Butterfly" at a normal pace, the greatest crowd of Dallas operatic history might have made its getaway from the Fair Park Auditorium before the storm. They were trapped, instead, for more than an hour. Otherwise the lethargic tempi and loud playing of Puccini's rich orchestration made the performance something less than perfect.

Licia Albanese as the unhappy heroine of the Loti-Lon-Belasco-Illica-Giacosa drama of preatomic Japan added one more memorable portrait to the distinguished gallery of the Metropolitan Opera visit just concluded. In appearance and manner she captured all the quaint charm and local color of Cio-Cio-San. More important, though, was the soprano's gift of singing Puccini's passionate music with power and intensity, tonal beauty and expressive phrasing. The light bright voice was sharply focused but never shrill or hard.

Charles Kullman as Pinkerton gave a more vivid characterization than most singers of the role and generally sang the music well although his voice has lost volume and ease in the upper register. John Brownlee sang Sharpless' important music suavely and enacted a tender and compassionate United States Consul. Sharpless is as much a credit to the State Department as Pinkerton is a disgrace to the Navy. LucieIle Browning was the faithful Suzuki and blended her rich mezzo-soprano with Miss Albanese's soprano for the lovely Duet of the Flowers. Alessio de Paolis was a cunning, cruel Goro and minor roles were well-sung by George Cehanovsky, Osie Hawkins, John Baker and Maxine Stellman.

Butterfly's entrance music was, for a wonder, on pitch with the chorus giving the soprano good support. The off-stage choral hum to the waiting music was a moment of great beauty. This is one of the most inspired passages of the score. The barometer was low and the temperature was high. The throng nevertheless took the opera enthusiastically. It was perhaps the only performance of Metropolitan history in which the orchestra played in shirtsleeves.



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