Puccini: Madama Butterfly - Vishnevskaya, Aragall, Rössl-Majdan, Sardinero; Klobucar. Wien, 1967
Listen to a Sample:
I do my best to stay objective about the merits of these recordings so I will start with the fact that the sound is far from ideal on this particular recording of Madama Butterfly. However, I felt the need to include it in my collection because of the Butterfly of Galina Vishnevskaya. It is a sad irony that for a soprano who had such a key place in history with her defection from the U.S.S.R. and marriage to cellist Rostrapovich, opera fans often know very little about her artistry especially in the Italian repertoire. Despite the flaws in the sound, a performance emerges that shows why she was such a sensation. The voice itself is ideal for this role. It is gleaming and large without any kind of hard edge. She delivers the softer sections of the role with great refinement and the spinto outbursts with generosity of tone (one feels sorry for her Sorrow whose ears must have been ringing for days after this performance.) Vishnevskaya sings the role in Russian, but nonetheless exhibits an innate sense for the Italian style. She is joined by a young Giacomo (or Jaime) Aragall as Pinkerton. Aragall is in top form and sings with a brash swagger in Act I and moving regret in the last act. Vicente Sardinero is also very good as Sharpless.