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Subject: Re: Pinkerton
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 6 Mar 2018 10:16:19 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain
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Bob is probably right.  Butterfly looses some credibility with a Brunnhilde
as Cio-Cio-San, but its a hard sing, constant pounding in the middle voice
with those rises above over a huge orchestra.  For me, a true lyric, just
doesn't have the chops - may in a small theatre with a reduced orchestra?
De Los Angeles was of course much more lyric then Tebaldi but it was hardly
a small voice.

Sorry, I know this is a bit late.  I wrote it days ago and never hit the
send button.

On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 4:51 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Tom
>
> I agree with you completely about Tebaldi's rather heroic sound in two
> roles that I have much more enjoyed in the hands of lighter voiced
> singers like Albanese and Scotto.
>
> But -
>
> the opera's history tells a very different story, as do Puccini's own
> choices, at times. After the failure of Milan's World Premiere, he
> chose Salomea Kruscelnicka (spelled a bazillion different ways)
> for the second incarnation at Brescia, she who was just about
> the most famous Brunnhilde of her generation. Emmy Destinn,
> another dramatic soprano, had huge success in  the role at the
> Met and elsewhere. And so it has gone for over a century, lyrics
> and spintos, even dramatics, alternating in the role, many of each
> type with great success.
>
> What is puzzling is that Puccini clearly saw the role as the province
> of the light lyric when he chose Rosina Storchio for the World
> Premiere. He made a 180 degree turn for the Brescia version with
> Kruscelnicka, though the major musical changes had little to do
> with his tragic heroine. They mainly involved the chorus, the many
> comprimarios (English) and Pinkerton, for whom "Addio, fiorito
> asil" was added.
>
> All that said, I prefer a lighter sound, one that conveys the youth
> and vulnerability of the "protagonista".
>
> Bob
>
> On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 17:59 tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Just a personal opinion but as beautiful as Tebaldi sounds on her
> > Butterfly and Boheme recordings, I find her voice just a bit too large or
> > heavy for these roles, who are supposed to be slight and fragile young
> > women.  Victora's voice is every bit as beautiful as Renata's but lighter
> > and younger sounding. Freni, though she never sang the complete role on
> > stage, IMO, has an ideal sounding voice for Butterfly. Price is gorgeous
> on
> > her recording with a lighter sounding voice than Tebaldi's. Callas, as I
> > recall, lightened her voice and manages to sound like a young woman on
> her
> > recording. Scotto is lovely, especially for her, on the recording with
> > Bergonzi as well as being dramatically outstanding. But then, is it
> > possible to not be moved by any Butterfly with a good sounding voice and
> > decent acting ability?
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]
> >
> > on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 5:35 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] Pinkerton
> >
> >     I saw Brandon Jovanovich as Pinkerton.  Obviously he made a
> tremendous
> > impression.  He had the voice (which was somewhat more lyrical than it is
> > now that he sings heavier stuff) and he really looked the part.  This was
> > about eight years ago.
> >
> >     Speaking of Butterfly, I decided to listen to my newly remastered CD
> > version with Tebaldi/Bergonzi under Serafin.  Bergonzi sounds so young
> and
> > his singing is ideal.  Tebaldi?  Her Butterfly was as Japanese  as
> lasagna,
> > her interpretation very generalized ------- but the SOUND that she made!
> > For example, the phrases where she tells Pinkerton that she wants to go
> to
> > HIS church are voiced with a beauty of sound that I've heard from no
> other
> > soprano ever.  Yeah, she flats just a bit at the end of her entrance, but
> > overall her voice sounds like the pitchers of cream that so many critics
> > talked about.  It was an Italian voice in an Italian opera and for
> Tebaldi
> > it was more than enough.  Will we ever hear a Butterfly with a voice like
> > this again?   The only other soprano who comes nearest this is Leontyne
> > Price (with Tucker).  Of course there are the Callas and Scotto
> > recordings------- where each are aiming for totally different effects.
> > Surely all four of these great sopranos belong in the great Butterfly
> > pantheon.
> >
> >     I also think it a shame that RCA never saw fit to give Albanese and
> > Peerce a complete Butterfly.  The extended excerpts from 1955 are good,
> but
> > perhaps should have been recorded a few years earlier.
> >
> > > On March 4, 2018 at 1:43 PM Maxwell Paley wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > >     The huge weight of the opera is on the soprano (I’d actually say
> > it’s on both the soprano and conductor), but a really excellent Pinkerton
> > makes a huge difference. A Pinkerton who is handsome, sexually attractive
> > and who has a melting voice can make us feel a much greater empathy and
> > understanding for Butterfly. An unpleasant looking or sounding lout of a
> > tenor reinforces the notion that she’s totally deluded.
> > >
> > >     I saw several great famous ones - Carreras, Aragall (both during
> the
> > 1974 San Francisco season when it seemed Scotto had a different tenor for
> > each performance), Jovanovich and Aragall with Racette, etc. But one who
> > really stuck in my memory wasn’t a major celebrity but did something
> > special with the role. This was a Welsh tenor, Arthur Davies, whom I saw
> in
> > London in December of 1992 with Yoko Watanabe as Butterfly.
> > >
> > >     If you Google Davies and see close up pictures, you’ll wonder what
> > the big deal is. From the audience, with makeup on, he looked like he was
> > somewhere in his late 20s and the voice was fresh and clean. In physique
> > and deportment, he was as handsome and attractive a Pinkerton as I’ve
> ever
> > seen and one totally understood Butterfly being completely wrapped up
> with
> > him.
> > >
> > >     Max Paley
> > >
> > >     I was shocked later to find out he was already in his early 50s.
> > >
> > >         > > On Mar 4, 2018, at 10:14 AM, Jon Goldberg wrote:
> > > >
> > > >         I think what is undeniably true is that we see the story of
> > the opera through Butterfly.
> > > >         That doesn't mean the other characters - any of them - are
> > less important - but just that
> > > >         it's her journey that we follow.
> > > >
> > > >         Had Puccini wanted us to see this more through Pinkerton's
> > eyes, we might have had the
> > > >         wedding scene between him and Kate, for instance, or the
> scene
> > where Sharpless tells
> > > >         him about the child and convinces him to come back to Japan.
> > But what we have instead
> > > >         is a much stronger drama where the effect of Pinkerton's
> > absence in Act II is palpable.
> > > >
> > > >         It's also interesting to note that the Belasco play starts
> > with Act II of the opera plot -
> > > >         Pinkerton's entire role is reduced to a very short appearance
> > at the end. Puccini and his
> > > >         librettists went back to the original John Luther Long short
> > story for what became Act I.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >         On Sun, 4 Mar 2018 15:42:21 +0000, Bob Rideout wrote:
> > > >
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