HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI/Angel) Giacomo Puccini – Madame Butterfly (De Los Angeles/Björling)

front-small-boxsetMany thanks to our friend Bob for this masterpiece
Certain recorded Butterflys are considered to be definitive, with Toti dal Monte, Maria Callas and Renata Scotto leading the pack. Because of the strong competition, this 1955 recording does not automatically come to mind as a classic Butterfly performance. That is too bad because Victoria de los Angeles, in her second recording of the opera, is wonderfully natural in the title role. While she may not plumb the depths of the part in the way that some other sopranos have, her voice, while still carrying the drama and Butterfly’s pathos, sounds more youthful than that of many of her competitors.
I think this was Jussi Björling’s last complete opera recording; it may well be one of his best. His aristocratic style is just as valid as the more impetuous interpretation of Giuseppe di Stefano, De Los Angeles’ first recorded Pinkerton.

# Composer: Giacomo Puccini
# Performer: Victoria De Los Angeles, Jussi Björling, Piero De Palma, Miriam Pirazzini, Mario Sereni
# Orchestra: Orchestra Of The Opera House, Rome
# Conductor: Gabriele Santini
Vinyl (1955)
Number of Discs: 3
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Angel
DR-Analysis: DR 11
Size: 2.81 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

This justly legendary recording derives its main strength from the powerful and successful collaboration of its two principals, Jussi Björling and Victoria De Los Angeles. The love duet with which act one concludes, one of the most gorgeous of Puccini’s, by itself makes the acquisition of this album an imperative for lovers of this popular warhorse. De Los Angeles was caught here at the very peak of her powers, a voice suited to this rôle as perhaps no other in her generation, save for perhaps Tebaldi’s. A decade later Freni recorded her famous protrayal for Decca, in a luxury production with Herbert von Karajan conducting that is also a much favoured version, but De Los Angeles’ remains special even after 60 years of having been recorded. I’m no worshipper of past decades’ performances for their own sake as many people nowadays appear to be, but I’d venture to say there is no singer today capable of singing Butterfly like this, full of subtleties and nuances, totally appropriating the role for herself like Callas did with Norma or Tosca. Björling’s voice, his vocals fully open and ringing tone, italianate as not even that of many an italian singer of his generation was, was also caught in aplendid form, although slightly after his prime years. But this is no problem, as it also isn’t in the more or less contemporaneously taped Bohème also with Victoria De Los Angeles, since the combination of both singers’ talents, understanding of the works in question and undeniable sense of a style now somewhat out of fashion (but how effective it was!) worked wonders. The supporting rôles are taken by what I take to be Rome Opera regulars of the time, a time when singers still belonged to “the Company of xyz Opera House” instead of jetting about from one gig to another; the importance in coherence of style of such (now largely abbandoned) practice cannot be ignored. Among these the Sharpless, Mario Sereni, a much underrated singer with a superior voice that had the misfortune of sharing these baritone roles in italian theatres with competitors like Gobbi or Bastianini, or abroad with other international singers like Cornell McNeil who, Björling-style, owned an idiomatic, wholly italian-sounding voice. But he is a very sympathetic Sharpless, wholly idiomatic; pay especial attention to his act one duet with Björling, introduced by (the then fairly novel to European ears, at least) “The Star Spangled Banner”, or to his conversation with Cio-Cio-San in the following act. The orchestra is less subtle or accomplished than the Scala orchestra featured in other recordings made in Italy at the time, or from the big-leaguers nowadays normallly used, but finds in Santini an effective conductor; he may not be as sensous or detailist as Karajan would be later on for Freni, but a successful exponent of the score none the less, fully experienced from working the score countless times in the orchestra pit.

The musical value of the album,a Butterfly really to be treasured, amply compensates.

Still, the opera belongs to the soprano. Big fans of the many sopranos who have left souvenirs of this part will understandably want their recordings. And those looking for a good overall recording of Puccini’s favorite of all his operas couldn’t do much better than this one. Highly recommended.

 Analyzed folder: /96k Puccini – Madama Butterfly – De Los Angeles, Bjoerling
 DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
 DR12        -0.63 dB     -17.69 dB     sideA.aif
 DR11        -1.10 dB     -17.13 dB     sideB.aif
 DR9        -0.51 dB     -15.94 dB     sideC.aif
 DR12        -0.20 dB     -18.16 dB     sideD.aif
 DR11        -0.60 dB     -18.08 dB     sideE.aif
 DR13        -0.33 dB     -19.09 dB     sideF.aif
 Number of files:    6
 Official DR value:    DR11



  • Baritone Vocals [Prince Yamadori] – Arturo La Porta
  • Baritone Vocals [Sharpless] – Mario Sereni
  • Bass Vocals [The Bonze] – Paolo Montarsolo
  • Bass Vocals [The Comissioner] – Antonio Sacchetti
  • Bass Vocals [Uncle Yakusidé] – Bonaldo Giaiotti
  • Chorus – Chorus Of The Opera House, Rome
  • Composed By – Giacomo Puccini
  • Conductor – Gabriele Santini
  • Mezzo-soprano Vocals [Mother Of Madame Butterfly] – Vera Mangrini
  • Mezzo-soprano Vocals [Suzuki] – Miriam Pirazzini
  • Orchestra – Orchestra Of The Opera House, Rome
  • Soprano Vocals [Kate Pinkerton], Soprano Vocals [The Cousin] – Sylvia Bertona
  • Soprano Vocals [Mme. Butterfly] – Victoria De Los Angeles
  • Soprano Vocals [The Aunt] – Nina De Courson
  • Tenor Vocals [Goro] – Piero De Palma
  • Tenor Vocals [Lt. B.F. Pinkerton] – Jussi Björling
  • Tenor Vocals [Official Registrar] – Paolo Caroli

Ripping Info


If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
My rips are almost rough rips.

  • Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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6 archives
PW: LaWally


18 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI/Angel) Giacomo Puccini – Madame Butterfly (De Los Angeles/Björling)

  1. Hi Alf; thanks for doing this one .
    Bjoerling died in September 1960, and I think his Turandot was the last, if the date you put on your Hi-Def of it is accurate.

  2. De Los Angeles recorded a first Butterfly with di Stefano in 1954 (P. 1955). I believe this one is from 1959 (P. 1960). Moreover, EMI, unfortunately, was late for stereo recording, were the year 1955 it would have been in mono.
    Thanks, Rach !

    • Since he was “THE SUN” of his time, “slightly past his prime years” means only that he’s very very good on this recording 😀

  3. Thank you for this! This is not usually my kind of thing, but I used to own this on LP. and de Los Angeles and Bjoerling are two singers I love.

    I have downloaded all six sections, but I am confused how I merge the files. I have tried FFSJ, and it will not work. I am on Windows. Can you please give me some advice?

    • Normally you only need to double-click on the first archive. Then you will be encouraged to set the PW, that is LaWally and then it should unpack all archives automatically. If it doesn’t work on your side, I don’t know what to do, since this is working for almost 2,000 rips I did in all the time (5 years)

      • Thanks for your reply, Rach. I have tried exactly what you suggest, but it doesn’t work for me, although I have previously downloaded from your site many items. The problem seems to be with the suffix “part1”, “part2”, etc. That’s what my computer doesn’t recognize. I have sent the files to a friend of mine to see if he has a solution. I’ll let you know.

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