2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ms Gheorghiu insists on verismo!,
This review is from: Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Audio CD)
I have always kept well away of Butterfly performances. If one believes in the theatrical aspect of opera, as I do, then one knows that it is very difficult to find a soprano that is able to get by, let alone excel, in portraying a fragile 15 (!!!) yr old Japanese girl. An admirable exception is the 1995 film starring Chinese soprano Ying Huang. As far as recordings go I would recommend the soundtrack of the film and of course the legendary 1966 Scotto recording. I have to admit that Angela Gheorghiu is doing very well for herself. I don't know how she does it, but she does it. She manages to convince the ROH to mount new productions for her and EMI to finance studio recordings. Despite what the artistic results may be one has to be grateful to her for this fact alone: keep operatic things going. Her voice is expressive, more so than any other soprano today, but is small in size. Against a terryfing spinto role than this one she sounds strained and sometimes overwhelmed by the orchestra. Jonas Kaufmann has a dark inelastic voice, usually not suited to the Italian repertoire, but here he is doing fine, because after all, he is portraying a dark character. Antonio Pappano is probably the best opera conductor we have today. He conducts the singers first and the orchestra second. But Puccini is Puccini and he cannot do miracles. There are moments, especially in the duets, that the soprano voice disappears behind the tenor and the orchestra. So this is an honest production of a much loved masterpiece. Artistically, it doesn't add anything to previous attempts. However, it will please the fans of the soprano and the tenor.