OP0275. MADAMA BUTTERFLY, recorded 1951, w.Erede Cond. Academia di Santa Cecilia Ensemble; Renata Tebaldi, Giuseppe Campora, Giovanni Inghilleri, Nell Rankin, etc. 2-London 440 230. Long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“This recording of Butterfly was Renata Tebaldi’s first (of two), made in 1951. To be sure, she’s in handsome voice. We are reminded of her great gifts: The luscious, round tone, the echt-Italianate sound and style, the sheer womanliness of it all. The ‘diva’ is always present here, and it’s one opera in which she ought to be invisible. Tebaldi never sounds innocent or fragile, let alone girlish, and when this Butterfly is angry she sounds positively dangerous. Throughout, there’s some lovely pianissimo singing.
Giuseppe Campora was an underrated tenor (his career had the misfortune to coincide with true greats like del Monaco, Corelli, Bergonzi, Bjoerling, and di Stefano), and his Pinkerton is better than most. The tone is fine and he seems very ‘in’ the role; his regret in the last act is as honest as his swagger in the first. Giovanni Inghillieri is a typical Sharpless, but with a bit drier voice than most. Alberto Erede, never a riveting leader, is not one here either: he lets the drama unfold, happy to have such nice voices to conduct, and never worries much about the force of the plot.”
- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com