[Met Performance] CID:49050
Madama Butterfly {55} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/19/1910.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 19, 1910 Matinee


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {55}

Cio-Cio-San.............Geraldine Farrar
Pinkerton...............Riccardo Martin
Suzuki..................Marie Mattfeld
Sharpless...............Antonio Scotti
Goro....................Angelo Badà
Bonze...................Bernard Bégué
Yamadori................Georges Bourgeois
Kate Pinkerton..........Helen Mapleson
Commissioner............Giulio Rossi
Yakuside................Francesco Cerri

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

[The program lists Giulio Romolo as the Commissioner. This was in fact a pseudonym used by Rossi when he chose not to be billed.]

Unsigned review in the Post (Henry T. Finck?)

Puccini Hears His Best Opera.

Giacomo Puccini, the most popular opera composer of the day, attended a performance of his "Madama Butterfly" at the Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday afternoon, and it is quite safe to say that he could not have heard an equally good one in any Italian city --- in fact, any foreign city - for Arturo Toscanini was the conductor, and the leading rôles were in the hands of Geraldine Farrar. Riccardo Martin, and Antonio Scotti. The composer received the most cordial applause when the vocalists brought him out at the close of the first and third acts, and the singers got their liberal share, too, the audience being deeply moved by the music and the pathos of this masterwork.

It was Miss Farrar's first appearance in opera this season, and in her best rôle - a rôle in which the whole country is eager to see and hear her. This alone would have insured a full house; but the knowledge that the composer would be present, and that therefore everyone from the prima donna and the conductor to the drummer would do their best, added fuel to the flames. The ticket speculators reaped a rich harvest and the house was jammed. Miss Farrar was, as usual, so Japanese in mien, gesture, gait, attire, that a native of Nippon would have had to strain his eyes to distinguish her from a musume of his native isle. To dwell on special points of excellence would be to tell the whole story ever again. That story is painted on her face every moment- a face in which the eloquence of the eyes is especially delectable - as delectable and expressive as her chameleonic voice, which assumes the hue of every passing emotion. The audience interrupted the flow of the music to applaud her after her incomparable singing of the monologue in which she conjures up visions of her lover, and again just before the cherry tree episode. In one respect she changed the action, not to its betterment. In some cities, where she has not been permitted to have a child with her on the stage, she has used a. doll and carried it behind the tree before committing suicide This version she used on Saturday, but it proved less impressive than the other way of stabbing herself behind a screen and then dragging herself, as her life ebbs away, near the blindfolded boy who is waving the little American flag.

Mr. Martin's clear, vibrant, and superb tenor mingled thrillingly with the soprano's luscious tones in the duet at the close of the first act, and throughout the opera he was excellent. Mr. Scotti, as always, made the part of the consul lifelike, sympathetic, and vocally a treat. Bernard Bégué did not succeed in making the episode of the angry Bonzo nearly as effective as Adolph Mühlmann used to make it; but on the whole the opera had one of its best performances ever given here, thanks largely to Arturo Toscanini, who brought out every telling detail of this highly emotional orchestral score with an art and an enthusiasm that must have thrilled Puccini.



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