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Heritage Masters - Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Serafin, Tebaldi

Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 1154087   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renata TebaldiCarlo BergonziFiorenza CossottoEnzo Sordello
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome ChorusSanta Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This comfortable old set makes a welcome appearance on CD (as well as on mid-price LP), particularly when the companies have been surprisingly tardy in representing this favourite opera in the new medium. Under Serafin this vintage Rome recording is certainly idiomatic in a strong and gutsy way, even if in places it is a little too easy going and lacks the distinctive magic of the very finest versions, with slow speeds predominating.

As for the recording, it has come up remarkably well in this digital transfer allowing for the limitations of late-1950s sound. The very opening is the passage most likely to be disconcerting, for the string sound in the fugato is dry and boxy with rather too boomy a bass. Initially the tape hiss
Read more is rather high and the thinness of the cymbal crashes reveals the age of the recording too. But all the sounds are very cleanly placed within the stereo scene and when the voices enter it is quite a revelation, for they are placed on stage very vividly. This is so throughout the rest of the set. The precision may be judged even by the fact that on the entry of Butterfly, Tebaldi is clearly placed only just off-stage while her companions in chorus are a long way behind her.

Tebaldi gives a vintage performance to remind us of her sterling qualities in this repertory, though I was surprised that the firm, golden tone which so consistently marked her singing gives way to a touch of rawness on the odd note, even in this 1958 performance. Regularly she floats pianissimo top notes ravishingly, but generally her portrait of Butterfly is lusty rather than subtle. Carlo Bergonzi makes a characteristically stylish Pinkerton, not so much of a cad as he ought to be. Enzo Sordello's singing as Sharpless brings some gritty tone, not rounded as one wants in the first scene. However, it is good to have Fiorenza Cossotto in one of her finest major recordings.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [7/1986]
reviewing a previous reissue of this recording, Decca 411634
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Works on This Recording

Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor), Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano),
Enzo Sordello (Baritone)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1958 

Sound Samples

Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "... E soffitto e pareti"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: Sorride Vostro Onore?
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Dovunque al mondo"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "America for ever"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Ier l'altro il Consolato"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Ecco. Son giunte al sommo del pendio"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Gran ventura"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: L'Imperial Commissario
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: Vieni, amor mio!
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Ieri son salita tutta sola in segreto alla Missione"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: Tutti zitti!
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Or vienmi ad adornar
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: O Kami! O Kami!
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Coro a bocca chiusa" (Humming Chorus)
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Intermezzo
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Cio-cio-san! Cio-cio-san!"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: (fischi d'uccelli dal giardino)
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: "Bimba, bimba, non piangere"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Già il sole!"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: Viene la sera
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Chi sia?"
Madama Butterfly / Act 1: Vogliatemi bene
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "E Izaghi ed Izanami, Sarundasico e Kami"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Io so che alle pene
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Un bel dì vedremo
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Non ve l'avevo detto?
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "C'è. Entrate"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Addio fiorito asil"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Non lo sapete insomma
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Si sa che aprir la parta
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Udiste?
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Ora a noi. Sedete qui.
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Ebbene, che fareste, Madama Butterfly?"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "E questo? E questo?"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Che tua madre dovrà prenderti in braccio"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Vespa! Rospo maledetto!
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Una nave da guerra
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Suzuki! Suzuki! Dove sei?
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: Tu, Suzuki, che sei tanto biona
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Come una mosca prigionera"
Madama Butterfly / Act 2: "Con amor muore...Tu, tu? Piccolo Iddio"

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