[Met Performance] CID:189280
Madama Butterfly {418} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/21/1961.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 21, 1961


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {418}

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

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





REVIEW OF Raymond Ericson in The New York Times

Leontyne Price sang but one performance of "Madama Butterfly" with the Metropolitan Opera last season. Illness delayed her appearance in the Puccini opera this season until last night, So this was only the second time that she had sung the part of Cio-Cio-San here. What a revelation her performance continues to be!

Miss Price's Butterfly is no mincing, coy little Oriental girl. She is a young woman who moves quietly and gently, making few gestures. There is a quality of stillness about her that makes credible her combined innocence and strength of character, She seems armored in her love and in her faith in Pinkerton, so that usually it is only a sudden smile, a quick glance at another character, a slow reproachful look that indicates what she is feeling-but how dramatic that indication is.

When she tries to hide her vulnerability, in the way she controls her shivering at the denunciation of the Bonze or recovers from her pitiful breakdown at the news that Pinkerton may never return, she is overwhelming.

So much of what Miss Price does seems original, yet it is only because she lets Butterfly's responses take their natural course and flower into action at the right time.

This goes for the soprano's singing, too. She handles the musical line with reserve: using the voice lightly but always with the most, sensitive inflections. In the lower register her voice suggested that she had not yet quite recovered from her illness; there were a few touches of hoarseness.

But the upper register was as limpid and gleaming as always, lacking only the splendor it can have when Miss Price is prodigal with it. If she, was being cautious, she was right; hers is too glorious a voice to endanger it in any way.

Miss Price was surrounded by singers who had sung in the opera earlier in the season. They were all excellent, including Margaret Roggero as Suzuki, William Olvis as Pinkerton, Clifford Harvout as Sharpless and Andrea Velis as Goro. Fausto Cleva again conducted.



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