Puccini: Madama Butterfly - Caballé, Martí, Ausensi; Rivoli, Spain, 1968


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Montserrat Caballé was certainly not the physical embodiment of a 15-year-old Japanese Geisha, but she proves that vocally she was in an elite class of Puccini singers who could convey the character’s wide-eyed optimism and subsequent shattered despair convincingly. She masterfully alternates breathtaking pianissimo with full-throttle slancio all while caressing the prose with great care. Rarely have I heard her as dramatically committed. Bernabé Martí, Caballé’s real-life husband, brings a sturdy if somewhat milquetoast tone to the role of Pinkerton. My only complaint with Manuel Ausensi’s Sharpless is that his virile baritone makes the character seem like he could be Pinkerton’s contemporary. The sound is very good.

In Stereo

OD 11395-2

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