Remarkably, the opening night of Madama Butterfly in Milan in 1904 was a disaster, but after a chastened Puccini made some modifications the piece was hailed as a triumph, and has been a regular at international opera houses ever since. The tenor lead, Lieutenant Pinkerton of the US Navy, is a less than heroic figure, as “Dovunque al Mondo” from Act 1 amply demonstrates. To the strains of "The Star-Spangled Banner," he boasts of his philosophy as the easy-going Yankee, roving the world taking his pleasures as he finds them. In this instance that consists of his new Japanese bride Cio-Cio-San, who naively believes that Pinkerton is making a sincere commitment rather than merely amusing himself before he goes home and takes an American wife. The clean, confident tone of Barcelona-born Carreras deftly captures Pinkerton's hollow posturing, while Puccini's music suggests the cruelty and tragedy that lie in store.
By Justin Davidson on 01.16.15 in Features
She is no longer the goofy but serious alien girl with the long flowing hair; instead she’s a sage.
By Justin Davidson on 12.02.14 in Features
Justin Davidson examines the way recent solo cello albums by Alisa Weilerstein, Jeffrey Ziegler and Maya Beiser reinvent that wordless, eloquent voice.
By Ami Armstrong on 11.26.14 in Features
Stream the Punch Brothers documentary 'How to Grow a Band' this week.
By John Schaefer on 10.28.14 in Reviews
The interlocking rhythm patterns of Steve Reich, the micro-universe contained in the drones of La Monte Young, the hypnotic sounds of the German motorik bands of the '70s…these are a few of the straws I will grasp at in...