OP0278. MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Live Performance, 18 Oct., 1974, w.Adler Cond. San Francisco Opera Ensemble; Renata Scotto, José Carreras, Julian Patrick, etc. [This is an indispensable, magical performance!] (Croatia) 2-Myto 013.248. Very long out-of-print, Final, ever-so-slightly used copy. - 608974502485
“I doubt if there is anyone with more comprehensive Madama Butterfly than Renata Scotto. That wealth of experience paid rich dividends, creating one of the most absorbing and emotional Butterflies I have seen in a very long time. Scotto’s influence was obvious. I have never been so aware of the overwhelming effect of silent pauses, moments when time stood still but emotions raced ahead most obviously when Sharpless asks Butterfly what she should do should Pinkerton not return; I confess to an ache in the pit of the stomach as this Butterfly silently contemplated such a future.”
- OPERA NOW
“Renata Scotto's long and successful operatic career was marked by a rare combination of dramatic intensity and vocal flexibility, which allowed her to traverse a wide variety of styles. She believed strongly in the theatrical elements of performing and always focused her energies on the meaning of a text. She also felt much of the standard verismo performing tradition to be exaggerated and vulgar, and strove to keep her performances as close to the composer's marked intentions as possible, especially with respect to subtleties of dynamics. Many speak of her as ‘the last of the divas’.
She began vocal studies when she was 14, and moved to Milan when she was 16. In 1952, when she was just 19, she made her debut as Violetta (LA TRAVIATA) at the Teatro Nuovo, followed by her La Scala debut as Walter in LA WALLY. However, only a few years later she had a vocal crisis, losing most of her upper range; she now credits her recovery to Alfredo Kraus (himself renowned for a solid technique and vocal longevity), who introduced her to his teacher, Mercedes Llopart. After completely restudying her technique, she re-began her career as a coloratura, making her London debut at the Stoll Theater as Adina in L'ELISIR D'AMORE. She returned to La Scala, and in 1957, replaced Maria Callas (whom she had greatly admired) as Amina in LA SONNAMBULA.
In 1960, she debuted at the Chicago Opera as Mimi (LA BOHEME), followed by her Covent Garden debut in 1962 as Puccini's Cio-Cio san (MADAMA BUTTERFLY). Her Metropolitan Opera debut was in 1965 was also as Butterfly; during the next two decades, Scotto was one of their major stars, appearing in several telecasts.
She began to add the heavier roles to her repertoire again, including Verdi's Lady Macbeth, which was to become a signature role, as well as verismo parts such as Fedora, La Gioconda, Francesca in Zandonai's FRANCESCA DA RIMINI and Maddalena in ANDREA CHENIER. In all of these roles she was applauded for her committed acting and stylistic fluency. While no recording can fully recreate the impressions of a stage performance, her first recording of MADAMA BUTTERFLY, under John Barbirolli, is one of her most vivid.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
“Not a note, not a syllable or an orchestral color is thrown away or overlooked in building the character [of Scotto’s Cio-Cio-San].”
- Robert Jacobson OPERA NEWS, 17 Dec., 1977
"If you are an admirer of Scotto's intensely passionate Butterfly and own either of her studio recordings, this 1974 San Francisco Opera performance is a 'must' acquisition. Scotto is in wonderful voice. Yes, familiar quirks can be heard, but they are at a bare minimum and pale into insignificance given the disarming musical and dramatic truthfulness of Scotto's portrayal. She is in often beautiful voice and with that voice changes almost imperceptibly from child bride to a mature, world-weary woman."
- Michael Mark, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, 1 Jan., 2002