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Subject: Re: Dal Monte as Butterfly
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 29 Dec 2016 14:11:47 -0800
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The Moffo recording was in many ways an opposite view from Dal Monte’s: where Dal Monte emphasized the bright sound to create her vision of Japanese youthfulness, Moffo’s was soft, sweet and sensual - very much in the groove of Shakespeare’s Juliet.

The Dal Monte has polarized reactions, apparently since it first came out. Some find it the most heart wrenching of all, others find it unlistenable. She did sing the role on stage and, again, from what I’ve heard, the brightness and edge on the timbre allowed her to cut through the orchestra without straining her voice although, for many, that needlepoint sound was not the quality they wanted to hear.  

I think Dal Monte’s approach had a profound influence on at least two other significant interpreters of the role: Dorothy Kirsten and Renata Scotto. Both incorporated interpretive and, in a few places, vocal devices into their interpretations that sound like both had listened carefully to the Dal Monte recording. Both had very different vocal instruments and the end effect was quite different from Dal Monte.

Max Paley

> On Dec 29, 2016, at 1:25 PM, Wadeworks <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> The discussions of Moffo and having a voice one size too small for Butterfly, 
> at least in 1957, reminded me of the whole "baby doll" approach to 
> Butterfly as represented by the casting of Toti dal Monte as Butterfly in the 
> commercial recording with Gigli.  That to me is just a voice 5 times too 
> small for the part and an approach that is almost insulting to the 
> character.  Yes I understand the age of the character at the time of her 
> marriage, but the part just calls for more heft regardless, certainly not 
> appropriate to a 1920-30s Italian soubrette.  Could she actually make it 
> thru a complete performance on stage or was it just a "role du disque"?  
> While I wouldn't want to hear a Caniglia performance (don't need a sledge 
> hammer), there must have been somebody more in the lyrico-spinto area 
> who could have handled it better.  Always was curious about that.
> 
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