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Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Librettist: Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Mitropoulos; Albanese, Barioni, Elias, BrownleeMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 11 min.
For a whole generation of opera goers the beloved soprano Licia Albanese embodied Madame Butterfly. Her vivid and passionate portrayal of the young geisha who tragically falls in love with an irresponsible US Navy officer remains as captivating today as it was half a century ago. Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos brings out every nuance of Puccini’s ex...
Molinari-Pradelli; Scotto, Casei, Shirley, BottcherMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Renata Scotto’s sensational Met debut was in the title role, as the hapless Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San. Scotto conveyed every stage of Butterfly’s tragic journey: from innocent 15-year-old bride, who gives up her family and religion to become more American, to abandoned wife with nothing left to live for. Seldom has the emotional arc from eager a...
Mitropoulos; Kirsten, Roggero, Fernandi, SereniMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 12 min.
This is a wonderful example of why Dorothy Kirsten was considered one of the great singing actors of her time. She manages to sound like the 15-year-old Cio-Cio-San, shy, but filled with delight as she begins her new life as the wife of U.S. Navy Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton (Eugenio Fernandi). As the tragedy of her abandonment unfolds, Kirsten conv...
Summers; Racette, Giordani, Zifchak, CroftMetropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 19 min.
The magnetic Patricia Racette delivers a vocal your-de-force as the young geisha Cio-Cio-San whose life is destroyed by Marcello Giordani’s Pinkerton, the dashing US Navy Lieutenant who plays with her feelings. Patrick Summers conducts one of Puccini’s most melodious scores, with Maria Zifchak as Cio-Cio-San’s faithful servant Suzuki and Dwayne Cro...
Composer: Jules Massenet
Librettist: Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille
Monteux; de los Angeles, Valletti, Corena, HinesMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 32 min.
Massenet’s most popular opera receives a sensational performance led by Pierre Monteux, the foremost French conductor of his time, who brings out all the elegance and Gallic flavor of this tuneful and sophisticated score. Victoria de los Angeles is Manon, the personification of charm and allure, in a ideal portrayal. When handsome young Des Grieux ...
Rudel; Swenson, Sabbatini, de Candia, PlishkaMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 22 min.
Who can resist the charms of Manon or remain unmoved by her fate? Ruth Ann Swenson takes on Massenet’s title heroine, the equally beautiful and high-spirited young girl who turns her back on life in a convent when she meets the handsome des Grieux (Giuseppe Sabbatini)—only to be seduced by the promise of a luxurious existence as the mistress of the...
Cleva; Albanese, Di Stefano, Singher, HinesMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 21 min.
The great Licia Albanese sings the bewitching title heroine in this scintillating performance of Massenet’s opera, an adaptation of Abbé Prévost’s famous novel, opposite a passionate Giuseppe Di Stefano as Des Grieux. Martial Singher and Jerome Hines round out the cast of this tale of an all-consuming love affair that ends in tragedy and death. Fau...
López-Cobos; Fleming, Giordano, Chaignaud, TianMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 27 min.
Massenet had a special gift for creating beguiling female characters that audiences can never get enough of—and that great sopranos long to perform. For many opera lovers, the enchanting but destructive Manon counts among his greatest achievements. Certainly Renée Fleming in the title role gives a dazzling tour de force: she’s equally at home with ...
Schippers; Moffo, Gedda, Guarrera, TozziMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 15 min.
“For Manon I could have given up my hopes of heaven itself,” declares her lover des Grieux—after utterly ruining himself for her and following her into a destitute exile in an alien country. In Massenet’s adaptation of Abbé Prévost’s novel, Anna Moffo is a perfect Manon—beautiful, enticing, and offering the promise of pleasure that makes everything...
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Librettist: Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica
Adler; Kabaivanska, Tucker, WalkerMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 1 hrs. 59 min.
This was the opera that first brought Puccini fame—and in this passionate performance, starring Raina Kabaivanska in the title role opposite Richard Tucker as des Grieux, it’s easy to see why. The two characters’ tumultuous relationship sends off musical sparks, as both of their lives are invariably altered by the experience. After a chance meeting...
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Librettist: Marco Praga, Domenico Oliva, Luigi Illica, Giuseppe Giacosa, Giulio Ricordi
Molinari-Pradelli; Tebaldi, Alexander, GuarreraMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 1 hrs. 52 min.
The legendary Renata Tebaldi had a special affinity for Puccini. It wasn’t only that her rich, mahogany sound delivered his soaring vocal lines so beautifully, that her voice would rise triumphantly over the most dramatic orchestral climaxes, or soar in the most haunting pianissimo. It was also that she gave every word its own special timbre, makin...
Levine; Scotto, Domingo, ElviraMetropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 1 hrs. 58 min.
Critics praised James Levine’s dramatic, heart-on-the-sleeve conducting which went right to the core of this youthful Puccini opera. It certainly inspired this sensational cast to an overwhelming performance. Renata Scotto is Manon Lescaut, the enticing young woman who chooses to run away with Des Grieux (Plácido Domingo) instead of going to a conv...
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