Monday, February 22, 2010

Madama Butterfly

Home Paddock reminded us last week that on 17 February 1904, Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly had its first performance under Arturo Toscanini at La Scala in Milan. The opera is now a firm favourite world-wide, but the debut wasn’t a success.

One reason is that it was under-rehearsed because Puccini was so late finishing it. Another reason was that Rosina Storchio, the soprano in the title role (that's her above as Cio-Cio San), was having an affair with the conductor. At one point her kimono blew open and a wit in the audience called out “She’s pregnant!”

Another called out: “And the child is Toscanini’s!”

It must have been hard for performers and audience to concentrate after that.

No comments: