Jose Carreras, Jose Carreras

Adam Sweeting

By Adam Sweeting

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A Barcelona-born master tenor deftly captures Lt. Pinkerton’s hollow posturing.

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.