* Notes *
The November performances of Madama Butterfly at San Francisco Opera star Daniela Dessì in the title role. Dessì's vocal entrance was muted, at least on the orchestra level, and one could barely make out the lines of her voice. Once she was on stage, she was audible, though not terribly robust. She has a wonderful vulnerability that suits the part and her movements also conveyed the fragility and tenderness of Butterfly. Her "Un bel dì" was pretty.
Perhaps Julian Kovatchev did not have many rehearsals before taking over for Maestro Luisotti, who is off to conduct La fanciulla del West at the Met. The playing sounded like the whole piece was marked ritardando, and seemed to grow slower and slower by the bar. The orchestra and chorus were not exactly together. The harp did sound especially lovely, however, the individual contributions of the orchestra members could not save the performance, it was rather dull.
* Tattling *
There was outright commentary during the music in addition to much unwrapping of cough drops.