[Met Performance] CID:43320
Madama Butterfly {27} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/23/1909.

(Debut: Luigi Morandi
Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 23, 1909


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {27}

Cio-Cio-San.............Geraldine Farrar
Pinkerton...............Rinaldo Grassi
Suzuki..................Rita Fornia
Sharpless...............Antonio Scotti
Goro....................Angelo Badà
Bonze...................Adolph Mühlmann
Yamadori................Concetto Paterna
Kate Pinkerton..........Helen Mapleson
Commissioner............Bernard Bégué
Yakuside................Luigi Morandi [Debut]

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

Unsigned review in the Philadelphia Record

TENOR GRASSI WINS APPLAUSE

First Appearance of a New Metropolitan Singer in "Madama Butterfly"

PERFORMANCE PLEASES

"Madama Butterfly," as given in the Academy of Music last night by the Metropolitan Company, was one of the most complete and artistic performances of opera seen in this city this season. The cast, which included Geraldine Farrar as Cio-Cio-San, Rinaldo Grassi in the role of Pinkerton, and Antonio Scotti as Sharpless, was further strengthened by the addition of a capable and pleasing company of singers in the minor roles.

Rinaldo Grassi, a recent acquisition to the Metropolitan Company, is a tenor who has a La Scala reputation to assist him in his American career. While the limited opportunities afforded him in the role of Pinkerton do not permit of an accurate estimate of his vocal endowment, they are sufficient to enable one to state that he has a voice of decidedly pleasing quality, which he uses most artistically. Grassi probably realizes that his voice is immature, and must be permitted natural development as he is entirely free from the too frequent fault of forcing tones. He has a free, limpid quality of tone and, no doubt, if he is not overworked, he will reach the goal of a great tenor - Grassi is not very robust in appearance and his habit of raising his shoulders in breathing would seem to indicate the advisability of a rigorous course of chest development. The flattering reception he shared with Miss Farrar was a graceful tribute to his pleasing voice, and was proof of the good impression he made on the audience.

Miss Farrar's conception of the tender, poetical little Japanese is familiar to Philadelphia opera-goers. During the first act Miss Farrar sang her dialogue in so subdued a tone that practically all of it was lost to the audience. This could not be attributed to one ponderous volume from the orchestra, as throughout the opera Toscanini's conducting was a revelation of artistic effects, all attuned to the softest shimmer of orchestration. In the following acts Miss Farrar found a better poise and her entire characterization was replete with charm and fascination. The role of Sharpless is one of the few that allows Scotti to display his natural dignity of presence. He was pleasing to the eye, and he acted with sufficient spirit the rather inconsequent part. Fornia, as the versant Suzuki, was distinctly capable while the Goro, of Angelo Bada, gave the keynote of comedy in the piece.

The stage effects were beautiful and true in every essential. Both the Japanese garden and the interior of Cio-Cio-San's house called forth applause and admiration. The drifting blossoms were admirably managed and were decidedly natural and effective.
The work of the orchestra was a triumph of art. In thorough keeping with the style of the text, there was a continuous flow of melody that could only have been evoked by a master hand, backed by the brain and spirit of a poet.



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