[Met Performance] CID:42040
Madama Butterfly {19} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/19/1908.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 19, 1908


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {19}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Cio-Cio-San.............Geraldine Farrar
Pinkerton...............Enrico Caruso
Suzuki..................Rita Fornia
Sharpless...............Antonio Scotti
Goro....................Angelo Badà
Bonze...................Adolph Mühlmann
Yamadori................Concetto Paterna
Kate Pinkerton..........Helen Mapleson
Commissioner............Bernard Bégué
Yakuside................Concetto Paterna

Conductor...............Arturo Toscanini

Director................Jules Speck
Set Designer............Burghart & Co.
Costume Designer........Blaschke & Cie

Madama Butterfly received fifteen performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

'MADAMA BUTTERFLY' SUNG

Arturo Toscanini Gives a Beautiful Reading of the Puccini Score

Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House last night before an audience which packed the house. The performance was not as happy in its sum total of results as that of "Die Walküre" on the previous evening or that of "Aida" on Monday night, yet owing to the masterful skill of Mr. Toscanini it was not without great artistic excellences. Doubtless something should be attributed to the present state of Geraldine Farrar's health, which is not the best. Her impersonation of the devoted little Japanese girl has always been worthy of the admiration accorded to it, but last night it was vocally somewhat uncertain, mostly in the first act.

But after all it is a captivating picture that she presents, and no one wonders that Berlin was quite emotional about it. Mr. Caruso and Mr. Scotti were her principal associates last night, the former representing the wicked Lieut. B. F. Pinkerton and the latter the American emissary of peace and good will, Mr. Sharpless. There is nothing new to be said about the doings of these artists. The applause which they received last night was largely won in bygone seasons. Rita Fornia was the Suzuki.

The most interesting feature of the performance, as already intimated, was the conducting of Mr. Toscanini. After two hearings of opera under the baton of this director it is safe, and it is a most agreeable duty, to say that the managers of the Metropolitan and the public of this city are to be congratulated on his engagement. He has shown himself to be a master, and what he is to do in the future will be awaited without the least anxiety, but on the contrary with pleasant expectations.

He has a comprehensive knowledge of the musical technic of opera and he plans his readings of scores upon the broad scale, but with the most intimate study of detail. He constructs his plan so as to bring out the correlation of its parts, and he perfects the parts in themselves. His treatment of the score of "Madama Butterfly" showed an exquisite feeling for its large moods and for its rich palette of orchestral colors.

As an accompanist he is unsurpassed, yet he loses not a single one of the salient instrumental effects. Whether the orchestra is playing piano or forte the significant bits of melody in every instrumental voice are brought to notice, and that too without overbalancing the vocal utterance on the stage. It was in the plasticity of his reading last night that the most satisfaction was to be found in the performance of Puccini's opera. The small parts were handled so that they fitted into the general scheme, and the chorus discharged its small duty acceptably.



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