[Met Performance] CID:189100
Madama Butterfly {416} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/3/1961.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 3, 1961


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {416}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Cio-Cio-San.............Dorothy Kirsten
Pinkerton...............William Olvis
Suzuki..................Margaret Roggero
Sharpless...............Clifford Harvuot
Goro....................Andrea Velis
Bonze...................Osie Hawkins
Yamadori................George Cehanovsky
Dolore..................Unknown
Kate Pinkerton..........Joan Wall
Commissioner............Calvin Marsh
Registrar...............Kurt Kessler

Conductor...............Fausto Cleva

Production..............Yoshio Aoyama
Designer................Motohiro Nagasaka

Madama Butterfly received fourteen performances this season.

Review of Ronald Eyer in the New York Herald Tribune

Dorothy Kirsten Sings Lead in Met's 'Madama Butterfly'

Within the admitted limits of repertory opera, the Metropolitan is giving us, point for point, about the best production of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" one is likely to encounter these days either in this country or in Europe. It came in for the first time this season last night with Dorothy Kirsten as Cio-Cio-San and demonstrated its superiority immediately with the [beginning] banter of Pinkerton and Sharpless and the beautifully staged entrance of the wedding party.

The production has restraint and dignity and gentle humor. It also has class and physical beauty in the substantial authentic sets and costumes of Motohiro Nagasaka and the direction of Yoshio Aoyama prevents such ethnic vulgarities and dramatic embarrassments as were not built into the score originally by Puccini himself.

Miss Kirsten, I don't hesitate to suggest, knows everything there is to know about the character of Cio-Cio-San. She lives and breathes the role. She plays upon every nuance of the text. She has devised a bit of business, unobtrusive and natural, for every one of the geisha girl's volatile moods. She has imbued herself with the self-effacing elegance of Asiatic femininity, and she is not a caricature.

The voice is not transporting, but it is put through its paces with great musicality and a sense of high style. Thought and feeling are behind it, and it makes mostly pure and beautiful sounds. The customers gratefully accepted Miss Kirsten, as well they might, for Leontyne Price who still is suffering from a virus.

William Olvis, as Pinkerton, did not spoil the powerful effect of the title role. He played up to it with disarming simplicity in the big duet which ends the first act, and he had a boyish charm and humility which made the idiotic role almost sympathetic. He sang very well, too, and the proportions of his voice were in good balance with Miss. Kirsten's.

Other performances kept in admirable perspective were those of Margaret Roggero, as Suzuki; Clifford Harvout, as Sharpless, and Andrea Velis, as Goro. The baton of Fausto Cleva was benign and affectionate.



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