The Un bel di Variations
by John Conklin, BLO Artistic Advisor
Sometimes it is interesting to see MADAMA BUTTERFLY sung "naked" - without the white makeup, the piled up geisha hair, the enveloping kimono. Here are such performances by Renata Tebaldi, Leontyne Price, Eleanor Steber and Teresa Stratas.
Remember - Butterfly's "real" age in the opera is but one year older than this teenager
Another place where we can see singers deeply involved in a role but out of a theatrical context (and away from the gaze of an audience) - "on their own" as it were - is in, often very revelatory, rehearsal footage. In this instance it is, of course, the BUTTERFLY Act 1 love duet, Vogliatemi bene, rather than our Un bel di.