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Subject: Re: Pinkerton
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 Mar 2018 11:43:41 -0800

text/plain (41 lines)

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 <[log in to unmask]> 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 <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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