[Met Performance] CID:152710

Madama Butterfly
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, January 30, 1950

Madama Butterfly (302)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/ Giuseppe Giacosa
Licia Albanese

Eugene Conley

Thelma Altman

John Brownlee

Alessio De Paolis

Melchiorre Luise

George Cehanovsky

Kate Pinkerton
Inge Manski

John Baker

Giuseppe Antonicelli

Review 1:

Louis Biancolli in the World-Telegram and Sun

Licia Albanese at Best in “Madama Butterfly”



Ten years ago Licia Albanese made a spectacular debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in the title role of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”


Last night the chic Italian soprano celebrated the tenth anniversary of that debut in the best way she knew how – by appearing in the same role of the same opera.


And the little lady was just as spectacular last night as she was a decade ago. Perhaps more so, because in ten years she has become the pride of the Italian wing.


Same Sweet Geisha Girl


She looked the same sweet Geisha girl, except lovelier, for the years have made Mme. Albanese even more beautiful and competed her mastery of the role.


The pathos was implicit in every moment of the impersonation. You could tell from the start which way the drama was headed, and that the final horror would strike little Cio-Cio-San with the greater impact.


There was studious care in every detail; and yet, you felt a quality of improvisation in the role, as if Licia Albanese had ceased being Licia Albanese and suddenly become Cio-Cio-San. The rest was second nature.


Singing Is Flawless


The singing was just about flawless; I had thought in the first act of her recent “Manon Lescaut” that the voice was strangely subdued; but that was probably due to the unfair quota of low notes given to Manon in that act.


Last night the voice floated through the house with effortless ease; the tones trailed one after another in a kind of family sequence; every one of them belonged where it was, and they all belonged to each other.


Eugene Conley scored his second Metropolitan triumph by providing a Lt. Pinkerton that in voice and style was worthy of the company he kept. And much the same applied to John Brownlees’s Consul Sharpless.


Giuseppe Antonicelli conducted with added intensity last night.

Search by season: 1949-50

Search by title: Madama Butterfly,

Met careers