Last night the Met broadcast one of its current run of Puccini’s masterpiece – it was the 898th time the company has presented the opera. The current Butterfly is Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto. She was good in a part that demands great. Tepid applause after ‘Un bel di’ and none after Butterfly’s moment of triumph when she thinks Pinkerton has come back to her. When Kristine Opolais did Cio-Cio-san on the second of the three HD presentations of Anthony Minghella’s production she knocked the part into the Hudson River. Buratto just doesn’t have the vocal power or dramatic intensity needed to realize the role. Without a great Butterfly there’s no reason to spend serious money on a staging of it.
Tenor Brian Jagde has a dry and gravelly voice. He sounded like the shade of Kurt Baum has risen to haunt the Lincoln Center palace. I think the performance would have been enhanced had he and Scott Scully (Goro) exchanged roles.
Sharpless is a role that demands little from the baritone to whom its assigned. But David Bizic sounded hoarse and not up to the loose standard for the part.
Mezzo Elizabeth DeShong was fine as Butterly’s loyal servant. Alas, Suzuki can’t carry the opera.
Conductor Alexander Soddy led a generally average performance. He did get the timpani strike right when Butterfly considers what she would do if Pinkerton did not return. Even the chorus sounded listless. When a company does seven shows a week, a lot of them will not be memorable. Such was the case last night.