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Puccini's 'work in progress': the so-called versions of 'Madama Butterfly.'.

The history of Giacomo Puccini's operas is not least a history of continual revisions. This is true not only of the early pieces, Le villi and Edgar, nowadays virtually forgotten, but also of the mature works, which have remained among the world's most frequently performed operas. Despite their almost overwhelming initial success, not one was spared the composer's subsequent alterations, and for the most part these were not trifling. Puccini's perpetual revisions were not as a rule made in response to negative reactions from the public. Rather, his own experience of the staging of his works made him constantly dissatisfied with what he had done, and he was always ready to subject them to critical review and correction.

Of the three most popular operas - La boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly - it was Madama Butterfly that underwent the most radical corrections, above all cuts. This will be common knowledge among the most knowledgeable of opera buffs by now, but in fact the history of the revisions to this particular opera has caused considerable difficulties to Puccini scholarship, itself in any case an underdeveloped field. For decades the legend was sustained that there was an 'original' Butterfly, performed at the failed Milan premiere of 17 February 1904, and that it was the final version, that of the successful 'second premiere' in Brescia, only three months after the spectacular Milan fiasco, that laid the foundations for the international reputation that the work enjoys to this day.(1)

Since Cecil Hopkinson's Puccini bibliography of 1968(2) (an invaluable work, if not accurate in every detail), Puccini scholarship has distinguished four different versions of Madama Butterfly on the basis of the editions of the vocal score published by the firm of Ricordi between 1904 and 1907 (see Table I). Henceforth the printed vocal scores are referred to, as in the table, in accordance with the numbers I assign to them in my complete bibliography of the works of Puccini.(3)

Hopkinson was followed by numerous detailed accounts, most recently in Michele Girardi's extremely comprehensive Puccini monograph,(4) in Linda B. Fairtile's wide-ranging exploration of Puccini's lifelong practice of revision,(5) and in Michael Kaye's notes to a recording of all the material composed by Puccini for [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE I OMITTED] Madama Butterfly.(6) They all agree in principle with Hopkinson in distinguishing the following versions:

the first, used for the premiere (documented in E.1, the first edition of the vocal score, January 1904);

the second, given on 28 May 1904 in Brescia (documented in E.2, the second edition of the vocal score, April 1904);

the third, the first British performance (in Italian) on 10 July 1905 (documented in E.3, the English edition of the vocal score, May 1906);

the fourth, for the first French performance on 28 December 1906 at the Opera-Comique, Paris (documented in E.5, the French edition of the vocal score, autumn 1906), which represents the version that is performed to this day.

This generally accepted view is invalidated by the following recent discoveries:

a corrected copy of the first vocal score (E.1) with alterations in Puccini's hand, found in the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, at the end of 1995 (B.2);(7) a copy of the second vocal score (E.2) used for performances in 1905 in Milan and in 1906 in Palermo, which I found in 1995 in an antiquarian bookshop in Milan (E.2 (Mil/Pal).(8)

In a sense, these represent links between the printed editions of the vocal score.

These two documents, which are discussed fully below, prove that it is not possible to speak of clearly definable 'versions' of Madama Butterfly. We must think, rather, of a 'work in progress', changing from performance to performance and only incompletely reflected in the printed vocal scores. Furthermore, they show that none of the versions in the printed vocal scores was realized precisely in the performance to which scholarship assigns it but that they merely represent retrospective 'snapshots' of the state of Puccini's intentions at the time.

What follows is a description, based on these and all other known sources, of the path taken by Madama Buttery from when composition was finished to the point at which it reached its final form. It is a long and complicated path, and at the end it may remain open whether we have Puccini's definitive 'last will' as to which form the performance of one of his most popular operas should take.

Puccini completed the score on 27 December 1903.(9) A few weeks earlier Ricordi had already begun to engrave the vocal score,(10) which the singers needed in order to learn their parts. It was completed only at the end of January 1904, however, so for a long time rehearsals had to be conducted with the help of single, sometimes imperfect, printed sheets.(11) B.2 is obviously one such provisional copy, with the stamp 'Non pubblicato/bozza di stampa' on every page, and used by Puccini on which to note down alterations. On the first page there is the dedication 'All'amico Vandini con affetto G Puccini 19.2.1904 milano.(12) This means that Puccini made the autograph alterations before having a complete copy of E.1 and thus during the rehearsals for the premiere.(13) Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Puccini made further alterations after the dedication to Vandini, two days after the disastrous premiere. It therefore seems fairly certain that the premiere took place with these alterations.

This interpretation means that we need a new answer to the question of what the 'original version' of Madama Butterfly actually is. The alteration to the harmony at Butterfly's entrance in Act I (fig. 39/40(14)) is particularly important in this context. The significance of this correction, together with the consequences it has for the harmonic 'framework' of the opera, has often been described,(15) but it has always been assumed that the correction was first made for the 'Brescia Version'. However, B.2 makes it clear that Madama Butterfly sounded thus in the very first performance, and that a reconstruction of the original harmony (as in the new VOX recording: see n. 6, above) is merely a return to a version that had already been superseded during the process of composition.

There are also some cuts in B.2 that have hitherto been assigned to later versions, on the basis of the printed vocal scores, or which were not known at all, and these must therefore now be seen as parts of the 'original version'. This is in particular true of the dramatically significant suppression of the text 'Per me spendeste cento yen, ma vivro con molta economia' in Butterfly's aria 'Ieri son salita' in Act I (from fig. 84 - 6), which according to previous opinion was not introduced until the 'Paris Version'. It is true also of a cut in Butterfly's aria 'che tua madre' in Act II (before fig. 56), which appears in none of the printed editions but was clearly made in practice for a long time: Puccini mentions the cut, which he calls the 'taglio "imperiale"', in a letter to Arturo Toscanini of 30 October 1905.(16) The orchestral intermezzo and the second part of Act II that follows it were also considerably shortened already - notably in the Butterfly/Suzuki duet (from fig. 136+7), where the 48-bar cut in the printed versions again only appears from the French vocal score (E.5) onwards.

The version of the premiere of Madama Butterfly that could be reconstructed from B.2 - the only one that could with any justification be called the 'original version' - by no means corresponds to the first printed vocal score (E.1), but it closely resembles the 'Brescia Version', at least in the second part of Act II. But this 'second premiere' differed from the disastrous first performance in Milan in three other substantial respects:(17)

in Act I c. 130 bars were cut (from c. 1,885 bars), above all in the presentation ceremony, in Butterfly's aria 'Ieri son salita' and in Yakuside's drinking scene; with the help of minor alterations in the orchestral intermezzo, Act II was divided into two parts, between which the curtain is lowered; the tenor Pinkerton gained an additional aria in the second part of Act II ('Addio fiorito asil').

Nevertheless, the acclaimed performance in Brescia on 28 May 1904, from which the international success of Madama Butterfly dated, did not take place in the form of the second vocal score E.2, which had been prepared especially for it.(18) There was at least one further major cut. During the rehearsals in Brescia, Puccini wrote to his publisher Giulio Ricordi: 'Si e fatto un taglio: l'alba, l'allegro - dall'adagio dopo le voci interne si passa al "gia l'alba" di Suzuki'.(19) This clearly means a cut of 105 bars (current fig. 6 to fig. 13), in other words the whole of the second part of the intermezzo that introduces the second part of Act II. This cut was not made in any of the printed versions, but can be found in E.2 (Mil/Pal) (see below). After Brescia, Puccini attended performances of Madarna Butterfly in Genoa (19 November 1904) and in Buenos Aires (summer 1905). We may presume that here, too, he had cuts made during the rehearsals that go beyond the E.2 version, but that these may have varied.

A glimpse into the often vast extent of such cuts is afforded by the fascinating copy E.2 (Mil/Pal).(20) It was clearly used for directing, since it contains a large number of entries relating to the characters' entrances and their disposition on-stage, and to lighting and the use of particular additional instruments. These entries were made in lead pencil, and in a blue and a red pencil, in this order, and at two distinct stages. Several lead-pencil markings indicate that this copy was used for the performances in the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan (opening on 12 October 1905), and in the Teatro Massimo, Palermo (opening on 26 April 1906).(21) There is some evidence that these are notes made in Milan, perhaps even by Puccini himself, in the working copy of someone involved in the direction of the production, and that most of these alterations were effected in the Milan performance, some, however, being put into practice only at Palermo.

The blue entries were evidently made by Puccini at the beginning of October 1905, when he attended the rehearsals at the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan. They represent his intentions at this time: the shortening of E.2 by nearly 300 bars - more cuts than were made in E.2 relative to E.1. These new cuts are again to the welcome scene and the drinking scene in Act I, but most of all they are to both parts of Act II, which had so far largely been spared cuts in the printed versions.(22) Reductions of such scope are not found anywhere else in Puccini's works, with the exception of the ill-fated early Edgar. Unlike Edgar, however, for which there are three precisely distinguishable versions separated from each other by several years, a new 'version', that is, one with different (and increasingly larger) cuts, is represented by practically every one of the many Butterfly performances between 1904 and 1907 where Puccini was present at rehearsals.

Immediately after the Milan rehearsals and a visit to a revival of Butterfly in London,(23) Puccini made an additional cut. He had rushed to Bologna, where Toscanini was conducting a new production of the opera on 29 October 1905. After the opening night, about to leave for home, he wrote a letter to Toscanini,(24) which mentions the 'taglio "imperiale"' already included in B.2 and suggests a further cut: fig. 84-5 to fig. 88 in Act II, thus extending by 25 bars the two cuts in this area contained in E.2 (Mil/Pal). This means, then, that Toscanini used a shortened version of E.2 different from E.2 (Mil/Pal); whether it included variations other than those documented cannot be determined.

After Puccini had attended a performance of Madama Butterfly at the beginning of January 1906 in Turin, and while he was at the rehearsals for the opening in Naples (on 24 January), Ricordi started to put together the first vocal score in English (E.3) on 22 January 1906.(25) Around this time a contract for English-language performances in the United States was signed with the impresario Henry Savage.(26) It is likely that E.3 was ready by the end of May 1906,(27) and it was presumably intended above all for public sale in the Anglo-Saxon countries, since this edition contains no rehearsal numbers. The numbers necessary for the rehearsals(28) were only introduced in a second English version (E.4). In all likelihood this appeared shortly after E.3,(29) was printed from the same plates, and contains eighteen inserted bars, an orchestral prelude to the flower duet in Act II.(30) The first time these could have been inserted was in the performances in Budapest or London in May 1906.

E.3 contains the 'blue cuts' of E.2 (Mil/Pal) except for the large cut in the intermezzo at the beginning of the second part of Act II (which was then definitively restored). In addition, it has a further cut: 36 bars from fig. 41-4 to fig. 43 in the second part of Act II ('L'amico mio' to 'fra mezz'ora salite la collina'). We may assume that the basis for this reprint was the performance in Naples in January 1906. It will have been after this that Puccini entered the 'red cuts' in the copy E.2 (Mil/Pal), which were intended for the performance in Palermo in April 1906 - an additional reduction of some 200 bars (all in Act I), and thus far more extensive than in E.3.(31)

These reductions are also of particular dramatic importance, since they remove the remaining remnants of the Japanese genre-scenes and the mockery of Japanese customs by the Western imperialist Pinkerton. It has previously been assumed that the Paris opera director Albert Carre was responsible for these alterations (see below). E.2 (Mil/Pal), however, proves that Puccini had already made them himself, thereby significantly toning down the original satirical sharpness of his opera in this area.

The many cuts and additions had by this time produced a fairly chaotic situation, which was doubtless true also of the orchestral material borrowed from Ricordi, corrected by hand over and over again and thus eventually no longer corresponding to the printed vocal scores used by the singers. Even Puccini himself seems not to have had a clear overview, as is suggested by a comment he made at the time of the first Hungarian performance: 'per i tagli parleremo a voce'.(32)

In the summer of 1906, with the first French performance - regarded by Puccini and his publisher as extremely important - there was at last an opportunity to bring some order to the chaos.(33) At the same time the first engraved score was to be prepared for which Puccini delivered Act I as early as June 1906. The publisher, Giulio Ricordi, was by no means pleased that Albert Carre, the director of the Paris Opera-Comique, wanted a large number of alterations to the dramatization of Madama Butterfly. Puccini met Carre in Paris in July, and within one day came to an agreement with him about the proposed alterations. This speed is explicable only if his own ideas had already to a large extent anticipated Carre's requests for cuts. Until then Carre had evidently known only the much longer printed vocal-score version, probably in the form of E.2. It is interesting, too, that at this point Giulio Ricordi was talking about having already reached the fifth version (as opposed to the third, which would have been the case when counting by the vocal scores).

On 13 August, Ricordi confirmed receipt of Puccini's 'definitive' alterations for the French edition (E.5), on which engraving began on 16 August. Carre's wishes for major textual alterations concerning the role of Kate Pinkerton were added later, apparently without Puccini's knowledge. Six weeks later, on 29 September, the engraving of the full score was also begun.(34) E.5 was put together with considerable haste and was ready by the end of September 1906,(35) evidently so as to be on the market by the time of the French premiere planned for the autumn. The many differences in performance indications are therefore presumably slips and not deliberate alterations. The greatest surprise in the light of previous scholarship, however, is that E.5 contains only relatively few alterations after E.2 (Mil/Pal) and E.3/4.(36) Besides the (admittedly substantial) alterations to the text of Butterfly's aria 'Ieri son salita' in Act I, and to the part of Kate Pinkerton in what is now expressly designated Act III - previously the second part of Act II - the new cuts amount only to some 80 bars. These include a dramaturgically significant cut in the final duet of Act I, where another 'anti-Western' passage was removed. This means that the alterations in the 'Paris Version' made at Carre's suggestion are far less extensive than has previously been assumed, and are in fact for the most part based on cuts intended by Puccini himself earlier.(37)

Other alterations were made during the rehearsals in Paris, which Puccini attended from the end of October 1906. The most significant are those made to the text of Butterfly's aria 'Che tua madre', which completely changes the content, and the new corrections to the role of Kate Pinkerton.(38) By the end of November, after these alterations had been completed,(39) Ricordi produced a new edition of the French vocal score (E.6), which also corrected previous slips.(40) One further cut that Carre wanted to make and that Puccini in fact supported (the 'Bravo giudice' episode in Act II, at fig. 35; c. 20 bars) was not taken over into E.6. Perhaps this small cut was made in the Paris performance that eventually took place, after many delays, on 28 December 1906. E.6 did not appear until some time later, in February 1907.(41)

At about the same time, on 11 February 1907, the US premiere of the Italian original took place in New York, and Puccini was again present at the rehearsals. We may presume that this performance was in the form represented by the third edition of the Italian vocal score (E.7) soon afterwards.(42) In this edition one of the Paris alterations was reversed, namely, the cut in Pinkerton's part from fig. 61 in Act I (as in E.5/6). Further changes were made to the text itself and to its distribution between characters in the dialogue between Butterfly and Sharpless in Act III, between fig. 38-2 and fig. 39,(43) and six bars were cut (before the present fig. 40-4, from 'Mi piacerebbe pur' to 'Andate adesso').

The full score, which had been begun almost a year earlier, eventually appeared in the summer of 1907,(44) and it corresponds to the version in E.7. Via an analysis of the original numbering of the engraved plates, Julian Smith has established that eight passages no longer in the final version were originally engraved, and that in two other places the text was altered after engraving.(45) Smith concludes from this 'that Puccini and Ricordi did not expect Carre's version to become the definitive version of "Butterfly"' but that they eventually accepted it for commercial reasons. This conclusion is by no means compelling, for two reasons. First, five of Smith's ten passages had already been altered in E.2 (Mil/Pal) or in E.3, and thus have nothing to do with the work on the 'Paris Version'. Second, Ricordi's engravers naturally worked from the autograph score that Puccini had altered for the performance in Brescia, and could not know of the alterations that had been made in the meantime for individual performances. That passages which had later been cut or altered were initially engraved for the score in an earlier version tells us nothing about the composer's intentions.

This completes the detailed history of the alterations in Madama Butterfly, at least as far as the printed editions are concerned. Except in some details, all later editions of the full score and the vocal score correspond to the engraved full score of summer 1907 or to E.7 respectively. Doubts as to whether Puccini really regarded this as the final version are cast by a vocal score in the Ricordi archive, which Julian Smith has described (albeit somewhat inaccurately).(46)

The vocal score in question is a copy of E.7 with a blind stamp from March 1908, bearing the following inscriptions on the cover: 'Acc[omodi] fatti p[er il] T[ea]tro Carcano' (possibly in Puccini's hand) and 'Accomodi Carcano Sig. Mo Tenaglia 15/1[?]/920'. A slip of paper inserted into the volume reads: 'Accomodi del Mo Puccini per il Teatro Carcano'.(47) The copy contains many autograph corrections by Puccini to performance details (direction, lighting etc.), which seem to have been made on the occasion of an earlier performance.(48) In addition, however, in Act I three passages in the hand of a copyist, perhaps 'Sig. Mo Tenaglia', have been pasted in.(49) These passages cancel the following cuts:

Puccini therefore wanted to reintroduce some 140 bars previously cut and thus reverse roughly half of the cuts to Act I made after the Brescia performance on the way to the 'definitive' version of 1907. Whether Puccini saw this version as the representation of his last wishes, however, is doubtful. For at almost exactly the same time, and certainly with his agreement, Ricordi was producing the first edition of the full score intended for open sale,(50) which does not include the reverse alterations of the 'Carcano vocal score'.
Old fig. 50 to fig. 54+2   presentation of Butterfly's relatives
                           (cut since the Palermo performance in
                           1906; see E.2 (Mil. Pal));

Old fig. 92+5 to fig. 99   the drinking scene with Yakuside (cut
                           since the performances in Milan in 1905
                           and Palermo in 1906; see E.2 (Mil/Pal);

Old fig. 124 to fig. 126   Butterfly's observations on the American
                           barbarians in the final duet (cut since
                           the preparations for the Paris
                           performance of 1906; see E.5).

Which 'version' of Madama Butterfly the elderly Puccini regarded as 'the correct version' cannot be determined. Every single performance in which he was involved was obviously a new experiment for him until the very end. There is thus neither a 'final' version nor earlier authentic versions that can be clearly separated from each other, except for the version for the very first performance. There exist a good many performance versions authorized by the composer, and there exist the pre-1907 printed versions of the vocal score, in forms preserved more or less by chance.

A hitherto non-existent critical edition of Madama Butterfly could therefore consist only of the score of 1907 and would have to detail in an appendix all the authentic variations from the autograph score to the Teatro Carcano version. It would offer modern interpreters the opportunity of deciding for themselves which variants they judge suitable for a given moment, much in fact as Puccini himself did.

1 This is still the case in the second edition of Mosco Carner's standard work, Puccini: a Critical Biography, London, 1974. While the posthumous 'definitive third edition' of 1992 corrects this, it is still full of errors of detail.

2 Cecil Hopkinson, Bibliography of the Works of Giacomo Puccini 1858-1924, New York, 1968.

3 In preparation; to be published by Ricordi.

4 Michele Girardi, Giacomo Puccini: l'arte internazionale di un musicista italiano, Venice, 1995.

5 Linda B. Fairtile, Giacomo Puccini's Operatic Revisions as Manifestations of his Compositional Priorities (unpublished dissertation), New York University, 1996.

6 VOX Classics 4 7525, copyright 1996 ('world premiere recording of the original 1904 La Scala Version, with Puccini's revisions for Brescia and Paris'). The reconstruction of the 'La Scala Version' is by Julian Smith, who had to supplement the instrumentation, since the original version is not preserved completely in Puccini's autograph score (held in Ricordi's Archirio Storico, Milan): Puccini made the alterations for the second performance in Brescia in the autograph score, and in doing so pasted over pages of the original version.

7 The numbering B.2 is also in accordance with my bibliography referred to above. I have not had an opportunity to examine a copy also obviously used by Puccini during the rehearsals for the premiere, which is in the Sibley Music Library of the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, NY (see Giacomo Puccini: Editions of the Operas in the Watanabe Special Collections. Sibley Music Library, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, 1997, pp. 48f.).

8 The numbering E.2 (Mil/Pal) is again as in my above-mentioned bibliography.

9 Entry in the autograph (Archirio Ricordi), confirmed by Puccini's letter to Carlo Clausetti of 29 December 1903: see Carteggi pucciniani, ed. Eugenio Gara, Milan, 1958, No. 335.

10 Entry on 6 November 1903 in the publishers"Libroni', the index for all the plate numbers that had been assigned.

11 See Carteggi pucciniani, ed. Gara, No. 340, of 27 January 1904. The earliest known copies or E.1 have blind stamps dated January 1904 and were registered on 6 February (Rome, Conservatorio di S. Cecilia) and on 8 February (Washington, DG, Library of Congress).

12 It cannot be determined whether the dedicatee is Guido Vandini (who worked in Lucca at the Teatro del Giglio) or his brother Alfredo (a civil servant in Rome, who had arranged a hotel room for Puccini on the occasion of the first performance in Rome that was to follow immediately after the premiere); perhaps Puccini wanted to take the copy to him there. It never reached either of the Vandinis, however, since it was stolen from the Puccini family house at Torre del Lago in 1945 (see Luigi Verdi, 'I manoscritti di "Madama Butterfly" nell'archivio dell'Academia Filarmonica di Bologna', 'Madarea Butterfly': programma di sala Teatro Comunale di Bologna, 1996, pp. 57 ff.).

13 For a complete list of the more significant alterations, see the appendix, below.

14 Where the rehearsal numbers (abbreviated henceforth as 'fig.') differ from those used today, they correspond to the original numbers in the longer editions since E.1. Bars before or after the rehearsal numbers are indicated by '+' or '-', so that 'fig. 84-6' means 6 bars before rehearsal number 84. A series of consecutive bars is indicated by '/', so that 'fig. 81+7/8' means bars 7 and 8 after rehearsal number 81. For clarity's sake the bars immediately after, before or at the rehearsal number are referred to with '+1' or '-1', since the rehearsal numbers are usually placed above a bar-line.

15 See in particular Alfredo Mandelli, '"Butterfly": nascita, fiasco, trionfo, equivoci, verifica', 'Madama Butterfly': programma di sala Gran Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 1982, pp. 245-57.

16 Carteggi pucciniani, ed. Gara, No. 434. This cut (and the one mentioned below in the orchestral intermezzo) is also in a copy of E.1 with a blind stamp dated February 1904, auctioned at Sotheby's in 1992 (Auction Catalogue, Sotheby's New York, 17-18 June 1992, No. 308, with a detailed description and a photocopy of page 330). Puccini dedicated it to his friend from Lucca, Alfredo Caselli. The autograph entries are all at the beginning of the second part of Act II and probably indicate Puccini's first ideas for alterations immediately after the premiere. They begin by marking the division of the two parts of the original Act II (from old fig. 92-6). Puccini seems only to have used the copy shortly after the premiere for the beginning of his systematic alterations.

17 These changes relative to E.1 are often exaggerated and are usually described inaccurately. My bibliography of Puccini's works (see above) will contain all significant variations in the published vocal scores.

18 The blind stamp and registration dates of the copies in Rome (Conservatorio di S. Cecilia) and Washington (Library of Congress) suggest that it was completed at the end of April 1904.

19 Giacomo Puccini: Epistolario, ed. Giuseppe Adami, Milan, 1928, No. 87. The letter, headed 'Brescia, sabato', can certainly be dated to 21 May 1904.

20 In the possession of the author.

21 Puccini was present for a few days at the rehearsals for the Milan performance with the young conductor Tullio Serafin: see the letter of 30 September 1905 in Puccini: com'era, ed. Arnaldo Marchetti, Milan, 1973, No. 312. He did not attend the performance in Palermo, although he had originally intended to: see for example the letter of 19 February 1906 in Giuseppe Pintorno, Puccini: 276 lettere inedite, Milan, 1974, No. 117; Ricordi's monthly, Ars et labor (May 1906), 476, gives a short account of this performance which had evidently been considered delayed. For a more accurate survey of where Puccini visited and which performances he attended in this period, see Dieter Schickling, Giacomo Puccini, Stuttgart, 1989, pp. 420ff.

22 For details, see the list of cuts in the Appendix, below.

23 On 24 October 1905. Puccini was unable to attend the first English performance on 10 July because he was in Argentina. This revival, which certainly included the Milan alterations, meant that Puccini was unable to attend the first night in Milan: Schickling, Puccini (see n. 21, above).

24 See n. 16, above.

25 Entry in Ricordi's 'Libroni'.

26 See Carteggi pucciniani, ed. Gara, No. 464, from 7 February 1906.

27 The copies in the Conservatorio di S. Cecilia, Rome, and the Library of Congress, Washington, have blind stamps dated May 1906 and were registered on 17 and 16 June 1906 respectively. The date of publication itself - almost a year after the first English performance (in Italian) - means that the traditional assignment of this vocal score to that performance is without foundation.

28 Perhaps the large cuts made since E.1 made Ricordi consider introducing a whole new system of rehearsal numbers, which was not followed up after all. The French edition (E.5) appeared without rehearsal numbers in the same year, presumably for the same reason, and a second, with the numbers, appeared very shortly afterwards (E.6).

29 Hopkinson (Bibliography) includes E.4 together with E.5, E.6 and E.7 in the 'definitive' version that only appeared in 1907. This must be wrong, since E.4 includes none of the additional changes from E.5-E.7, with the exception of the eighteen new bars for orchestra, and must therefore date from before the beginning of E.5. Like E.3 and E.5, it also has the copyright date 1906; from E.6 on, 1907 appears as the copyright date. Unfortunately, I know of only one copy of E.4 (in the Bodleian Library, Oxford), which has a much later blind stamp (April 1928). Ricordi continued to sell E.3 after E.4 had appeared, presumably for commercial reasons. The author owns a copy of E.3 with a blind stamp from January 1907.

30 Before fig. 78 (in modern editions after fig. 78). In order to avoid a reprint of the pages after the insertion had been made, only pages 214 and 215 were re-engraved, and two new pages were added, so that the order ran 214, 215, 214bis, 215bis, 216 etc.

31 For details, see the Appendix, below. One might suppose that the reference to Palermo in E.2 (Mil/Pal) indicates most obviously a performance there a year later, on 16 March 1907, which, like the Milan performance, was conducted by Tullio Serafin (in 1906 the conductor of the Palermo performance was Edoardo Mascheroni). This would mean that the red markings had been made much later, after the Paris revisions in fact, and that these had been made in manuscript only because the new Italian version was not yet ready in print (see n. 42, below). But since some important Paris revisions are not present in E.2 (Mil/Pal), such an interpretation seems less plausible to me.

32 Pintorno, Puccini: 276 lettere inedite, No. 121, from 23 April 1906.

33 On what follows, see the detailed portrayal in Julian Smith, '"Madame Butterfly": the Paris Premiere of 1906', Werk und Wiedergabe: Musiktheater exemplarisch interpretiert, ed. Sigrid Wiesmann, Bayreuth, 1980, pp. 229-38.

34 The dates are taken from the entries in the 'Libroni'.

35 The blind stamps of the earliest known copies are from September 1906; the copy in the Library of Congress, Washington, was registered there on 8 October 1906.

36 For details, see the Appendix, below.

37 That Carre's influence on the 'Paris Version' must have been less extensive than is generally accepted was indicated by Arthur Groos in his intensive study of the genesis of the libretto. He refers to problems discussed by Puccini and his librettist that concern the very passages that were then altered in Parris (or even, as is suggested here, for the most part earlier). See Arthur Groos, 'Lieutenant F. B. Pinkerton: Problems in the Genesis and Performance of Madama Butterfly', The Puccini Companion, ed. William Weaver & Simonetta Puccini, New York & London, 1994, pp. 169-201, at p. 172 and, especially, pp. 199-201; an extended version of the essay in an Italian translation is in Puccini, ed. Virgilio Bernardoni, Bologna, 1996.

38 See Hopkinson, Bibliography, p. 72.

39 See Giacomo Puccini: Epistolario, No. 93, which certainly dates from 25 November 1906.

40 Hopkinson's assertion that the alterations in E.6 'were purely textual and not musical' (Bibliography, p. 27) is not wholly correct, nor does it do justice to the textual changes; these are so significant that we must regard E.6 as a separate edition and not merely as a variation of E.5.

41 The earliest known copies bear this date.

42 It evidently appeared in April 1907, since the earliest known copies (Rome, Conservatorio di S. Cecilia, and Washington, DC, Library of Congress) have a blind stamp from this month; the Washington copy was registered on 6 May 1907.

43 See Hopkinson, Bibliography, p. 72.

44 The copies in Rome and Washington were registered on 3 and 5 July 1907 respectively.

45 Smith, '"Madame Butterfly": the Paris Premiere', pp. 234ff.

46 Ibid., pp. 236 f.

47 Linda B. Fairtile has identified a performance at the Teatro Carcano, Milan, in spring 1920, for which these insertions were most probably intended (Fairtile, Giacomo Puccini's Operatic Revisions, p. 34, referring to Annali del teatro italiano 1901-20, Milan, 1921, p. 67). Oddly, this performance is not mentioned in Ricordi's periodical Musica d'oggi, although another, in January 1922, is mentioned (Musica d'oggi (February 1922), 58). Different singers are given for each production, although they had the same conductor, Arturo Lucon.

48 From March 1908 Puccini took part in rehearsals for the following Butterfly performances: 25 March 1908 and 27 January 1909, Rome, Teatro Costanzi; 29 October 1909, Brussels, Theatre de la Monnaie.

49 Raffaele Tenaglia worked for Ricordi from 1913; later he was for many years the director of the archive and the 'ufficio riproduzioni' (Enciclopedia della musica, Milan, 1964, iv. 368).

50 According to entries in the 'Libroni' this 'Octavo score' was begun in July 1919; its publication is announced in Musica d'oggi (November 1920), 315. However, the earliest known copy (in Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, without blind stamp) was not registered until February 1921.

1. B.2: Significant differences from E.1 (in addition to some alterations in
the detail of the vocal parts)



39/40           Changes to the harmony (as in E.2)

from 84-6       Different distribution of text among voices with cut
                of 3 1/2 bars and of the text 'Per me spendeste
                cento yen, ma vivro con molta economia' (not taken
                up thus to E.2)

from 142        Change of text and part-writing towards the end of
                the duet (similar to E.2)


before 56       Cut of 12 bars in Butterfly's aria 'Che tua madre'
                ('Ed alle impietosite genti' to 'vestite di
                splendor', not taken up in any printed edition, but
                entered into the autograph score in an unknown hand)

before 58       Cut of 5 bars of orchestra (as in E.2)

from 100-4      21 bars in the orchestral intermezzo cut (effected
                differently in E2)

from 114+12     Part-writing and distribution of voices in the trio
                Suzuki/Pinkerton/Sharpless altered (as in E.2)

from 136+7      48 bars Butterfly/Suzuki cut ('Non vi voglio
                lasciar' to 'Resto con vol'). The cut is missing
                in E.2, but it appears in part in E.2 (Mil/Pal)
                and in E.3; it does not appear completely until E.5.

from 143+8      13 bars Butterfly cut ('Qui, qui la tua testa bionda'
                to 'ne' tuoi capelli', as in E.2)

before 146      6 bars Butterfly cut ('di tua madre la faccia' to
                'l'ultimo flor', as in E.2)

from 147-9      11 bars orchestra cut (in E.2 the 15 bars fig.
                147-9/+6 are replaced by the new bars fig. 56+1/4)

2. Cuts entered in E.2 (Mil/Pal) (rehearsal numbers from E.2)


50 to 54+2      48 bars cut in red pencil ('Ma ho degli altri
                parenti' to 'Per quel che me ne fo!' + orchestral
                postlude). The cut first appears in the printed
                editions in E.5.

56-2 to 59      36 bars cut in red pencil ('Qua i tre musi' to
                'della Nipponeria' + orchestral postlude). The cut
                appears for the first time in the printed editions
                in E.5, although there 2 fewer bars of orchestral
                music are cut at the beginning, and 2 more are

61+4 to 63      40 bars cut in lead pencil and in red, 'Palermo'
                added in lead pencil ('Dov'e? Ecco la la!' to 'ah!
                hu!'). The cut does not appear in any printed

65 to 72+4      First of all 38 bars cut in blue pencil (fig. 68+5
                to fig. 72), then a red cut of a further 57 bars
                (in all, from 'Mia madre' to 'Hanako'). The blue cut
                first appears in the printed editions in E.3, the
                whole cut only in E.5.

81+2            One bar of orchestra cut in red. The cut first
                appears in the printed editions in E.5.

81+7/8          'E questi via!', text only, cut in red, but not
                replaced. In the printed editions from E.5 the
                text is 'Amore mio!' (in Italian).

82+10/11        'Sir Francis Blummy', text only, cut in blue, but
                not replaced. In the printed editions from E.3 the
                text reads 'Mister B.F.', from E.5 it reads
                'Benjamin Franklin'.

84-1 to 85+1    11 bars cut in blue and red, with the lead-pencil
                addition of 'Milano' ('ed ella' to 'ed ella'). The
                cut first appears in the printed editions in E.3.

92+5 to 100     First of all 35, then another 18 bars, cut in blue
                (fig. 95 to fig. 100, 'Bevi il tuo Saki' to 'ai
                novissimi legami', with the lead-pencil addition of
                'Palermo'), then a red cut of a further 19 bars
                (from 'Qua, signor Zio'), but finished by fig. 99
                (before 'Ip! Ip!'). The second blue cut is not found
                in any printed edition, but the red cut, which
                includes the first blue cut, is found from E.5.


73 to 74+6      26 bars cut in blue ('Sfronda tutto il giardin' to
                'la maggior fiamma e nell'anima mia'). The cut first
                appears in the printed editions in E.5, there with a
                new text transition, 'Va pei fior!' that seems to be
                hinted at here in lead pencil.

85+3 to 86+10   22 bars cut in blue ('Che ne diranno ora i parenti!'
                to 'Ferma'). The cut first appears in the printed
                editions in E.3.

87 - 1 to 88    20 bars cut in blue ('Cara faccia pensosa' to 'Ecco
                l'obi nuzial'). The end of the cut is not marked,
                but can be deduced from E.3, where the cut first
                appears in the printed editions.


6 - 13          105 bars cut in blue (2nd part of the orchestral
                intermezzo). The cut does not appear in any printed
                edition, but was made as early as the Brescia
                performance (see the account on page 530, above).

48 to 49 - 11   12 bars cut in blue ('Ieri m'hai detto' to
                'Butterfly riposera'). The cut first appears in the
                printed editions in E.3, although in a form extended
                by 11 bars earlier and with a corresponding
                displacement of Suzuki's dialogue text.

3. Alterations in E.5 beyond those made in E.2 (Mil/Pal) and E.3/4
(rehearsal numbers from E.2, where they are not identical with the
modern numbers)


9+5/9           5 bars Pinkerton cut ('Nomi du scherno o scherzo. Io
                li chiamero: musi! Muso primo, secondo e muso terzo')

61+1/17         Pinkerton's part cut but all other music retained

81-6/+1         The music retained, but major alterations to the
                text ('Nella stessa chiesa. . .' instead of 'Per me
                spendeste cento yen . . .')

after 123+12    36 bars of duet cut (old fig. 124 to fig. 126 in
                E.2, fig. 131 to fig. 133 in E.1: 'Pensavo: se
                qualcuno mi volesse' to 'E poi? Racconta').


after 83+4      9 bars Butterfly/Suzuki cut ('Suzuki, fammi bella'
                to 'chissa!').


after 31+11     3 bars of orchestra cut

33+15/22        Alterations to the text in preparation for the
                revised role of Kate Pinkerton

37+6 to 39+5    Music almost unchanged, but major alterations to
                text and text-distribution that revise the role of
                Kate Pinkerton (see Hopkinson, Bibliography, p. 72)

after 47+6      25 bars Suzuki/Butterfly cut ('Non vi voglio
                lasciar' to 'fuor che la morte')

after 50+4      Repeat of the previous 4 orchestral bars cut

(Translated by Robert Vilain)
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Author:Schickling, Dieter
Publication:Music & Letters
Date:Nov 1, 1998
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