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Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker – Puccini: Madama Butterfly (1974/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker – Puccini: Madama Butterfly (1974/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:50:00 minutes | 2,49 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front cover | © Decca Music Group Ltd.

A 1974 recording of Puccini’s classic opera Madama Butterfly, one of the most-performed operas in the world. Herbert von Karajan conducts The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with a compelling Mirella Freni in the title role, up-and-coming superstar Luciano Pavarotti as Pinkerton, Christa Ludwig as Suzuki and Robert Kerns as Sharpless.

In every way except one the transfer of Karajan’s radiant Vienna recording for Decca could hardly provide a firmer recommendation. The reservation is one of price – this Karajan is on three discs, not two, at full price. However it does allow each act to be self-contained on a single disc, and for such a performance as this no extravagance is too much. Movingly dramatic as Renata Scotto is on the Barbirolli set, Mirella Freni is even more compelling. The voice is fresher, firmer and more girlish, with more light and shade at such points as ‘Un bel dì’, and there’s an element of vulnerability that intensifies the communication. In that, one imagines Karajan played a big part, just as he must have done in presenting Pavarotti – not quite the super-star he is today but already with a will of his own in the recording studio – as a Pinkerton of exceptional subtlety, not just a roistering cad but in his way an endearing figure in the First Act. Significantly CD brings out the delicacy of the vocal balances in Act 1 with the voices deliberately distanced for much of the time, making such passages as ‘Vienna la sera’ and ‘Bimba dagli occhi’ the more magical in their delicacy. Karajan, in that duet and later in the Flower duet of Act 2, draws ravishing playing from the Vienna Philharmonic strings, getting them to imitate the portamento of the singers in an echt-Viennes manner, which is ravishing to the ear. Christa Ludwig is by far the richest and most compelling of Suzukis.


01 – Act 1: … E soffitto e pareti
02 – Act 1: Sorride Vostro Onore?
03 – Act 1: Dovunque al mondo
04 – Act 1: America For Ever
05 – Act 1: Ier l’altro il Consolato
06 – Act 1: Ecco. Son giunte al sommo del pendio
07 – Act 1: Gran ventura
08 – Act 1: L’Imperial Commissario
09 – Act 1: Vieni, amor mio!
10 – Act 1: Ieri son salita tutta sola in segreto alla Missione
11 – Act 1: Tutti zitti!
12 – Act 1: O Kami! O Kami!
13 – Act 1: Cio-cio-san! Cio-cio-san!
14 – Act 1: Bimba, bimba, non piangere
15 – Act 1: Viene la sera
16 – Act 1: Vogliatemi bene
17 – Act 2: E Izaghi ed Izanami, Sarundasico e Kami
18 – Act 2: Un bel di vedremo
19 – Act 2: C’e. Entrate
20 – Act 2: Si sa che aprir la parta
21 – Act 2: Udiste?
22 – Act 2: Ora a noi. Sedete qui.
23 – Act 2: Ebbene, che fareste, Madama Butterfly?
24 – Act 2: E questo? E questo?
25 – Act 2: Che tua madre dovra prenderti in braccio
26 – Act 2: Vespa! Rospo maledetto!
27 – Act 2: Una nave da guerra
28 – Act 2: Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio
29 – Act 2: Or vienmi ad adornar
30 – Act 2: Coro a bocca chiusa (Humming Chorus)
31 – Act 2: Intermezzo
32 – Act 2: Fischi d’uccelli dal giardino
33 – Act 2: Gia il sole!
34 – Act 2: Chi sia?
35 – Act 2: Io so che alle pene
36 – Act 2: Non ve l’avevo detto?
37 – Act 2: Addio fiorito asil
38 – Act 2: Suzuki! Suzuki! Dove sei?
39 – Act 2: Tu, Suzuki, che sei tanto biona
40 – Act 2: Come una mosca prigionera
41 – Act 2: Con onor muore chi non puo serbar vita con onore

Mirella Freni – Butterfly
Luciano Pavarotti – Pinkterton
Christa Ludwig – Suzuki
Robert Kerns – Sharpless
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus – Conducted by Herbert von Karajan


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