Many people particularly associate Butterfly with Scotto, so it’s unusual that there are relatively few live recordings with the diva in the opera, and today’s is especially valuable as it documents her 1965 Met debut. As it turned out, she closed out her Met career in the same role twenty-one years later.

Butterfly was not an opera Moffo sang often onstage and her four times with the Met happened during the company’s post-tour performances in New York City-area parks. Vishnevskaya’s Bolshoi Butterfly today is sung in Russian, the language in which she also once performed the opera at the Met in 1961.

Cio-Cio-San was a particular specialty of Cruz-Romo whose Met house debut was in Butterfly eight months after today’s New York City Opera broadcast which was only the third of her 21 performances of the opera there; she sang 31 further performances of the role at the Met.

Today’s pirate documents Yoncheva’s first-ever Butterfly at the Vienna Staatsoper in June of last year. It’s an opera which she had been scheduled to sing earlier and one that it’s rumored she will bring to the Met. Based on the recorded evidence, does that seem like a good idea?

Later this week, Aleksandra Kurzak begins her double-Puccini Met season with her first local Butterfly (Liù in Turandot follows in March). She will be followed by a return of Eleonora Burrato, whose recent Met Butterfly performances were widely acclaimed and finally, in late April, Asmik Grigorian makes her much anticipated US debut as Cio-Cio-San opposite fellow Met newbie Jonathan Teteleman (a pairing that will be seen on a Met HD transmission on 11 May).

In addition, on January 26th Ailyn Perez is scheduled to perform Puccini’s tragic geisha for the first time in the United States in a run at the Houston Grand Opera.

Puccini: Madama Butterfly

Cio-Cio-San: Renata Scotto
Suzuki: Joann Grillo
Pinkerton: John Alexander
Sharpless: John Robert Dunlap
Goro: Robert Schmorr
Yamadori: Russell Christopher
Bonze: Norman Scott

Conductor: George Schick
Metropolitan Opera
13 October 13 1965
In-house recording

(in Russian)
Cio-Cio-San: Galina Vishnevskaya
Suzuki: Renata Babak
Pinkerton: Vladislav Piavko
Sharpless: Alexey Bolshakov
Goro: Vitaly Vlasov
Yamadori: Yuri Dementiev
Bonze: Viktor Gorbunov

Conductor: Mark Ermler
Bolshoi Theater
26 November 1966

Cio-Cio-San: Anna Moffo
Suzuki: Huguette Tourangeau
Pinkerton: Giuseppe Campora
Sharpless: Enzo Sordello
Goro: Mariano Caruso
Yamadori: James Morris
Bonze: Joseph Fair

Conductor: Anton Guadagno
Philadelphia Lyric Opera
31 March 1970
In-house recording

Cio-Cio-San: Gilda Cruz-Romo
Suzuki: Kay Creed
Pinkerton: Enrico Di Giuseppe
Sharpless: Franco Iglesias
Goro: David Clements
Yamadori: John Lankston
Bonze: Will Roy

Conductor: Byron Dean Ryan
New York City Opera
14 April 1970

Cio-Cio-San: Sonya Yoncheva
Suzuki: Szilvia Vörös
Pinkerton: Charles Castronovo
Sharpless: Boris Pinkhasovich
Goro: Andrea Giovannini
Yamadori: Hiroshi Amako
Bonze: Evgeny Solodovnikov

Conductor: Antonello Manacorda
Wiener Staatsoper
20 June 2023
In-house recording

Each Butterfly can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

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