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ALLA BREVE

July 19, 1987|ALLAN ULRICH

PUCCINI: "MADAMA BUTTERFLY." Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, Ingvar Wixell; Ambrosian Opera Chorus; Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel. CBS Masterworks M2K 35181 (two compact discs). Until Angel decides to reissue on CD its treasurable 1968 Scotto-Barbirolli "Butterfly," the CBS recording, made a decade later, should serve to recall the diva at her most inspiring. Despite the more variable estate of her voice in the later recording (she avoids the high D-flat of her entrance music), Scotto had refined her portrayal of the tragic Butterfly right down to the last aspirate. Domingo is an almost heroic, if impersonal, Pinkerton; Wixell a standard Sharpless. Maazel strives for turbulent drama, rather than communicating any particular luminosity of texture. The CBS remastering allows the orchestral contribution more of a presence than it had in its LP incarnation.

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