Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy birthday, Madama Butterfly

Home Paddock reminds us that today is the 110th anniversary of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which had its first performance at La Scala on 17 February 1904. It wasn’t well received then, but is now one of the ten most performed operas in the world.

When I was a child, television was different from how it is now. As was childhood. One rainy afternoon I was home alone, aged maybe 12, and  Madama Butterfly was on TV. Black and white, obv. It was a black soprano in the title role, so must have been Leontyne Price. Life-changing. A year or so later I heard Tina Turner, and then Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. It is still all the same to me.  

I can’t find anything on YouTube from that movie but here is Mirella Freni in the title role with Placido Domingo, Christa Ludwig and Karajan conducting.  I prefer Freni with Sinopoli conducting but, hey, internet thieves can’t be choosers.      

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