[Met Performance] CID:144370
Madama Butterfly {277} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/21/1947.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
March 21, 1947


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {277}

Cio-Cio-San.............Dorothy Kirsten
Pinkerton...............Richard Tucker
Suzuki..................Lucielle Browning
Sharpless...............Frank Valentino
Goro....................Alessio De Paolis
Bonze...................Osie Hawkins
Yamadori................George Cehanovsky
Kate Pinkerton..........Maxine Stellman
Commissioner............John Baker

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

Review of John W. Riley in the Boston Globe

"Madama Butterfly"

Giacomo Puccini's music-drama comment upon Yankee Imperialism in Japan, "Madama Butterfly," was the opera which the Metropolitan Opera Association presented at the Boston Opera House last evening. The playbill gives the time of the action as "The present," a fact made more pointed in the past few days by stories from Japan similar to the tale recorded in "Butterfly." And no one could escape the significance of the opera's locale - Nagasaki.

These impressions aside, let it be noted at once that last night's performance was a fine example of what the Met can do in the way of a well-staged ensemble production. To one who has seen Japan, there are many details out of focus. But they are of minor import against the fact that musically and dramatically last night's cast, conductor and orchestra successfully sustained the illusion intended by composer and authors.

Dorothy Kirsten stepped in at the last moment to replace Licia Albanese in the title role. Miss Kirsten had once before substituted for Miss Albanese in New York this season when the latter was indisposed. And last night she proved that she need accept no "handicap" even in an emergency. She not only was incomparably alluring in appearance, but acquitted herself with honor, vocally. Her clear, warm voice, secure and well-placed, was persuasive. And her portrayal, tender and touching.

Richard Tucker sang Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Boston for the first time and gave the impression that he soon will be seeking to be classed among the Met's other top tenors.

Mr. Tucker's ringing top tones and all round expert singing, his sensible, though not particularly imaginative stage deportment, were more than worthy.

Lucielle Browning was admirable vocally, as Suzuki, Butterfly's servant and affectionate companion. Francesco Valentino was a model of steadiness as Sharpless, the United States Consul. The less prominent roles were capably done by Alessio de Paolis, George Cehanovsky, Maxine Stellman and John Baker.

As always, a large share of the credit goes to the conductor - Cesare Sodero, in this case - whose sense of pace and nuance, and whose warm feeling for the opera insured its effectiveness. Although the costumes for "Butterfly" are not always authentic (and easily could be), they will do. But the sets are really past their prime.



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