OP0162. MADAMA BUTTERFLY, recorded 1957, w.Mitropoulos Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Dorothy Kirsten, Daniele Barioni, Clifford Harvuot, Mildred Miller, Alessio de Paolis, etc. 2-Theorema 121167/68. Very, very long out-of-print, this Met Opera Record Club rarity is an ever-so-slightly used copy. - 8010984221676
"Dorothy Kirsten made her professional concert debut in a stage show at the New York World's Fair. She was also reunited with Grace Moore, who recommended her to the Chicago Grand Opera, where Miss Kirsten made her operatic début as Pousette in Massenet's MANON in 1940. Miss Kirsten sang 15 minor roles during her first season, and the following year shared the stage with Miss Moore in a Chicago performance of LA BOHEME, singing Musetta to Miss Moore's Mimi. In 1942, Miss Kirsten began to sing leading roles with the San Carlo Opera Company, in Washington and New York City. She made her New York City Opera debut in 1943, and by 1945 had performed with the San Francisco Opera, the New York Philharmonic and other major orchestras. Starting in September 1943, she had her own radio program, 'Keepsakes’, which ran for a year. Miss Kirsten's Metropolitan Opera debut, as Mimi in LA BOHEME on 1 Dec., 1945, was a critical success, and was the start of a 30-year association with that house. In 1971, when she celebrated her 25th anniversary with the company, she reminisced about that debut, and recalled that Miss Moore sat in the first box, at the side of the stage, and threw roses to her. When Miss Moore died in a plane crash in Denmark in 1947, Miss Kirsten sang Schubert's 'Ave Maria' at her funeral. Miss Kirsten's career was centered in the United States, but she did tour Europe and, in 1962, the Soviet Union. There, besides giving recitals, she sang Violetta in a Bolshoi Opera performance of LA TRAVIATA, to considerable acclaim, even though, as she said later, she had to go on without the benefit of a stage rehearsal. During her years at the Met, Miss Kirsten sang most of the important Puccini roles, including the title roles in MANON LESCAUT, TOSCA and MADAMA BUTTERFLY, and she starred as Minnie in a revival of LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST that helped restore the work to the repertory. She prepared for the title role in LOUISE by going to France to study it with the composer. She also worked with the composer Italo Montemezzi on L'AMORE DEI TRE RE before she performed it in San Francisco and at the Met. In addition to the Puccini heroines, her repertory included the female leads in Gounod's ROMEO ET JULIETTE and FAUST, Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI and Verdi's LA TRAVIATA. She sang in the American premieres of Walton's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA and Poulenc's DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES, both in San Francisco. Miss Kirsten's voice was not huge, but she used it gracefully throughout her long career. When she gave her farewell performance at the Met, on 31 Dec., 1976, Allen Hughes wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES that 'she sang and acted the part of Tosca with the vocal control and dramatic acuity of a prima donna in mid-career’."
-Zillah D. Akron
“Daniele Barioni is an Italian opera singer who had a prolific career during the 1950s through the 1970s. Early on in his career he rose to fame as a leading tenor at the Metropolitan Opera between 1956 and 1962. Afterwards he worked primarily in opera houses and concerts throughout the United States, although he did make numerous appearances in both Europe and South America as well. Barioni was particularly associated with the operas of Giacomo Puccini and the roles of Turiddu in Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and Alfredo in Verdi's LA TRAVIATA.
Barioni began his singing studies in 1949 in Milan with Attilio Bordonali, initially studying the baritone repertoire. He made his professional singing début that same year at the Circolo Italia, Milan, in a concert with the Chilean soprano Claudia Parada. Not too long after, his teacher became convinced he was actually a tenor and began training Barioni in the tenor repertoire for the next five years. His operatic début was in 1954 as Turiddu in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA at the Teatro Nuovo, Milan.
In 1956 Barioni came to the United States to join the roster at the Metropolitan Opera where he sang for seven seasons for a total of 54 performances. During his tenure at the Met, Barioni sang opposite some of the world's finest sopranos including Lucine Amara, Maria Callas, Mary Curtis Verna, Victoria de los Ángeles, Dorothy Kirsten, Zinka Milanov, Leonie Rysanek, Giulietta Simionato, Antonietta Stella, and Renata Tebaldi, among others. He made his début with the company on 20 February 1956 as Mario Cavaradossi in TOSCA with Delia Rigal in the title role and George London as Scarpia. Just two days later he sang his first Rodolfo in Puccini's LA BOHÈME opposite Licia Albanese, his most frequent leading lady at the Met, as Mimì. His last performance at the Met was on 27 November, 1962 as the Italian Singer in Richard Strauss' DER ROSENKAVALIER.
Though for many years his career was mostly developed in the United States, he sang in Italy in different cities and theaters, and also in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Portugal, France, Germany and Ireland. In 1958 he appeared in an Italian film, CAROSELLO DI CANZONI. Though he was a favorite in Rome where he sang for many years at the Opera and Caracalla, he sang at the famous La Scala only in 1966, as Pinkerton and Turiddu. Though his repertory was basically that of a spinto tenor and he was always asked to repeat his well-known roles in TOSCA, LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST or CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, he also obtained acclaim in NABUCCO, MACBETH, FEDORA, ANDREA CHÉNIER, TURANDOT and LA GIOCONDA.
Barioni married in 1957 the Italian-American pianist Vera Franceschi. In 1958 their son Giulio Barioni was born. She died prematurely of leukemia in 1966. Her death also meant the decline of Barioni's career as a singer. From 1975 to 1980 he appeared in opera and concerts, but not so often as in previous years. His last appearance was in a concert with Renata Tebaldi at the Teatro Comunale, in Ferrara, in 1981, to receive the Premio Frescobaldi 1980.
He made some recordings for the Metropolitan Opera Club, available by subscription on a limited basis only.”
- Ned Ludd
“Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos stood apart from the European traditions that dominated first-rank American orchestras for much of the twentieth century. After attending the Athens Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition, his opera BÉATRICE was presented there. The French composer Saint-Saëns was in the audience, and was so impressed that he arranged a scholarship that enabled the 24-year-old to study composition with the Belgian composer Paul Gilson and piano with Busoni in Berlin. Busoni persuaded him to abandon composition and concentrate on becoming a conductor.
From 1921 to 1925, Mitropoulos assisted Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera and on Kleiber's recommendation, was appointed conductor of the Hellenic Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Athens. In 1927, he became conductor of the Greek State Symphony Orchestra and in 1930 was engaged to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he instituted the practice of conducting from the piano.
In 1937 Mitropoulos succeeded Eugene Ormandy as musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and remained in America until 1959. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he was invited to share the conductorship of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Stokowski, becoming its conductor when Stokowski resigned in 1950. Mitropoulos resigned the post after sharing the podium with Leonard Bernstein, his co-principal conductor, in the Orchestra's 1958 tour of Latin America. From 1954, he was a dynamic force as Bruno Walter's successor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he introduced many new operas, including ones by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.
Mitropoulos never conducted his own works, but considered his best composition to be a Concerto Grosso written in 1929. His lived simply and took little part in social activities. His conducting style was passionate, highly-charged and demonstrative; he had a phenomenal memory and rarely used a baton. He programmed much modern music and particularly admired Schönberg and the Second Viennese School, such as Webern and Berg, as well as twentieth century American and British composers. His recording of Mahler's First Symphony made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1941 was the first ever made in the U.S. of that work, and Mitropoulos was awarded the American Mahler Medal of Honor in 1950 for his work in promoting the composer's music. He died while rehearsing Mahler's Third Symphony with Toscanini's famous La Scala Orchestra.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com