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Subject: Fwd: Pinkerton
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 Mar 2018 23:51:26 +0000
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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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