OP2757. MADAMA BUTTERFLY, recorded, 1949, w.Rudolf Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Eleanor Steber, Richard Tucker, Giuseppe Valdengo, Jean Madeira, Alessio de Paolis, etc. (Austria) 2-Sony MH2K 62765. Slipcase has 31pp. Brochure, w.archival photos & complete 129pp. Libretto; Discs feature original Columbia 78rpm labels. Transfers by Seth B. Winner. Long out of Print; Final remaining sealed copy! - 074646276525
“Some people at Sony have used their ears and eyes wisely to come up with ‘Masterworks Heritage’, a mid-price reissue series drawing on treasures from the Columbia/CBS/Epic vaults and packaging them not in the usual fragile, space-consuming jewel boxes, but in slim, sturdy cardboard folders that suggest the sleeves of old. Furthermore, the funky charming cover illustrations and disc label art of the original 78s and/or LPs is reproduced as well.
Sony has chosen interpretations not previously available on CD, most from monophonic recordings of the 1940s and '50s.”
- Herbert Glass, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5 Jan., 1997
"If not the charismatic Cio-Cio San of the beloved Albanese or Iris Adami Corradetti, Steber's performance is redolent of the glorious Edith Mason. You will never hear a better-sung performance of this role."
- J. R. Peters
“[Eleanor] had an innate feeling for Mozart and Strauss, and had a loveliness of tone that recalled the voice of a great predecessor, Edith Mason.”
- Rosa Ponselle, A SINGER’S LIFE, p.203
"Steber definitely possessed the most glorious instrument of all, with its classically organized technique, impeccable management of breath support, easy agility and, above all, that phosphorescent top register….She was a singer who possessed a rare combination of vocal radiance, technical mastery and personal charisma, and during her best years, the distinctive purity, spinning tone and easy sweetness of her soprano [which] made her the Mozart-Strauss soprano of one’s dreams."
- Peter G. Davis, OPERA NEWS, Nov., 2003
"...for some thirty years, until his sudden death in 1975, Tucker's vocal security, boundless energy, unceasing enthusiasm, and thorough professionalism ensured a level of popularity that necessitated comparisons to some of his greatest predecessors....Tucker sang thrillingly and delivered the goods, communicating his own joy in singing to all who would listen...."
- Marc Mandel, FANFARE, May/June, 1997
“After studying in Turin, Valdengo made his début in 1936 at Parma as Rossini 's Figaro, then sang Sharpless at Alessandria. Though engaged at La Scala in 1939, he did not sing there (because of military service) until 1941 , when he made his début as Baron Douphol. In 1946 he performed at the New York City Opera, then in 1947 made his San Francisco début as Valentin, returning as Escamillo, Sharpless, Iago, Amonasro and Rigoletto. At the Metropolitan (1947–54) he sang Tonio, Marcello, Germont, Count Almaviva, Belcore, Ford, Paolo (SIMON BOCCANEGRA) and Giacomo Puccini 's Lescaut. In 1955 he sang Don Giovanni and Raimbaud (LE COMTE ORY) at Glyndebourne, and in 1961 he created the Lawyer in Renzo Rossellini's UNO SGUARDO DAL PONTE in Rome. His recordings of Iago, Amonasro and Falstaff, deriving from NBC broadcasts (1947–50) conducted by Arturo Toscanini , are vividly and firmly sung, with an even, flexible line.”
- Alan Blyth