Madama Butterfly appears on EMI Classics for the first time in many years in a new studio recording. The role of Cio-Cio-San is stunningly performed by Angela Gheorghiu , partnered by the exciting young German tenor Jonas Kaufmann as her lover Pinkerton, both making their debuts in these roles. Suzuki is sung by Enkelejda Shkosa, Sharpless by Fabio Capitanucci and Goro by Gregory Bonfatti. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in the two-act opera. The recording took place in the Santa Cecilia Hall of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome in July 2008, the year commemorating the 150th anniversary of Puccini’s birth.
Given the lapse of 42 years since the appearance of the last seminal recording of Madama Butterfly with Renata Scotto/Carlo Bergonzi – and even earlier releases with Maria Callas/Nicolai Gedda and Victoria de los Angeles with both Giuseppe di Stefano and Jussi Bjorling – all recorded by EMI Classics– this new production has attracted keen anticipation among press and music lovers worldwide.
In an era when record companies have virtually ceased to make studio recordings of operas – one of the last being EMI’s Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo and Nina Stemme, and in the words of Producer David Groves, speaking shortly after the recording sessions, “When it is so exceptional to make a studio opera recording, to find the perfect circumstances in which to record Madama Butterfly is both rare and precious. It was the right place at the right time with the perfect cast, conductor, orchestra and venue. The orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia played the music as though it was written for them and the partnership between the soloists Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann and conductor Antonio Pappano was a magical combination”.