[Met Performance] CID:94130
Madama Butterfly {186} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/11/1926.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 11, 1926


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {186}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Cio-Cio-San.............Florence Easton
Pinkerton...............Beniamino Gigli
Suzuki..................Ina Bourskaya
Sharpless...............Antonio Scotti
Goro....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Bonze...................James Wolfe
Yamadori................Pompilio Malatesta
Kate Pinkerton..........Phradie Wells
Commissioner............Vincenzo Reschiglian
Yakuside................Paolo Quintina

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

Director................Wilhelm Von Wymetal
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Madama Butterfly received seven performances this season.

Review signed M. W. in the Herald Tribune

'Madama Butterfly' Has 1926 Premiere at Metropolitan

Mme. Easton, Scotti and Ina Bourskaya Sing Familiar Roles and Please Large Holiday Audience

The season's first "Butterfly" went extremely well at the Metropolitan last evening, although it contained few novel features. Perhaps that was the reason for the excellences; it proved to be one of the few occasions this season which have given the impression of being thoroughly rehearsed and sure in its performance. The effect of over-familiarity is not always so salubrious, it has been known to taint with staleness in that very house. But had there been any indications of this they would been swept away in the fresh breeze created by Maestro Bellezza's baton. He attacked the score with just the measure of delicate vigor which it requires and kept all concerned upon their temperamental tip toes.

Antonio Scotti, returning for a twenty-seventh season with the company, was greeted by a friendly burst of applause on his entrance, and sang with undiminished tone and an art constantly augmenting in distinction and charm. Mr. Gigli has been in better voice than last evening, but the insufferable Pinkerton is an ungrateful role and even second best seems too good for him, so we will not cavil with Gigli.

If there is or ever has been a better Suzuki than Ina Bourskaya, this reviewer has not been privileged to hear it. We are not speaking necessarily of vocal equipment, but all the small and difficult pieces which fit so smoothly into her characterization. The hovering, tender, ignorant, superstitious, but transcendentally devoted and faithful little maid is alive and trotting doggedly about her mission of service, a created entity in the hands of this artist. Replete with Orientalisms, but best of all with the consecration to her role which impels her to continue acting even when not in full view of the audience, it is a little masterpiece quite worthy of respectful attention from those who are habitually only star-gazers.

Miss Easton in the title role has elaborated her conception until, at moments, there were definite, if fleeting, reminders of another American protagonist to whom the role belonged for many years. She was in excellent voice and, wondrous to relate, arrived before the footlights in her first entrance, singing squarely on the key. Her death scene was dramatic, and the audience responded enthusiastically and sometimes inadvertently with interruptions of applause at big moments. Others in the cast whose contributions were masterly in their humbler opportunity were Messrs. Patrinieri, Malatesta, Wolfe, Quintina and Reschiglian. To Miss Wells fell the hideous task of being Mrs. Pinkerton.

Before the second act conductor Bellezza paid his tribute to Armistice Day memories by playing a complete version of our national anthem, which had been hinted at in the score of the preceding scene. The entire audience stood at attention.



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