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Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio

Opera details:

Opera title:

Madame Butterfly


Giacomo Antonio Puccini




Madame Butterfly Synopsis


Madame Butterfly Libretto


English Deutsch

Duet details:




Cio-Cio San / Suzuki


Soprano / Mezzo-Soprano



Previous scene: Una nave da guerra
Next scene: Or vieni ad adornar

100 Singers - TOTI DAL MONTE

Singer(s): Maria Callas Toti Dal Monte Angela Gheorghiu Conchita Supervía Nellie Melba Barbara Marchisio

Toti dal Monte, Soprano (1893-1975)
Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio (Flower Duet)
With Vittoria Palombini, Mezzo-soprano (1903-1968)
Conducted by Oliviero de Fabritiis
Recorded 1939

My personal opinion: In the 1970s I bought my very first complete opera recording: MADAMA BUTTERFLY. It was the fabulous Santini version with De los Angeles and Bjoerling; still one of my favorites. I was so moved by the work that I decided to collect more editions: Callas, Tebaldi, Price, Scotto and because of Gigli the 1939 production with the italian born soprano Toti dal Monte (in her only studio recording of an entire opera). I still remember my very first impression, when dal Monte began her role with "Ancora un passo or via": I was shocked and sorely disappointed - what a dull child-like voice this was! Where was the melodiousness of the sopranos I'd heard before? For me it was just embarrassing, and to be honest: Sometimes I used the recording to make others laugh...
Meanwhile decades have passed, and my opinion changed. Dal Monte's interpretation is sincerer, closer to Puccini's intentions and (most of all) had more identification with the role as, say, the more comfortable and diva-like singing of Angela Gheorghiu, who (in the Pappano version) is far from representing a teenage girl. The dal Monte recording has moments, "that are possibly more touching than any other recorded interpretation of the part, especially in the 'Letter Duet' of Act II", wrote Steane in 'The Grand Tradition'. It took years before I realize the brilliant mimicry in the voice of dal Monte.
She was born as Antonietta Meneghel in the province of Treviso. Soon her parents discovered her musical talents, but due to a hand injury she was forced to end piano lessons. Then she began to study voice with the italian contralto Barbara Marchisio, once a favorite of Rossini. At the age of 23 and with the endorsement of Serafin and Panizza, Toti dal Monte made her debut at 'La Scala' as Biancofiore in Zandonai's FRANCESCA DI RIMINI (next to Raisa, Pertile and Danise). Success was great, and Toti dal Monte was admired as "a new nightingale in the tradition of a Patti". Dal Monte later said, her actual debut in a supporting role was in February 1922 as Gilda opposite Lauri-Volpi and Verdi baritone Galeffi, who was a favorite of Arturo Toscanini. Dal Monte's working with the bossy conductor was not unclouded. During a rehearsal for RIGOLETTO, the conductor snarled her: "How can you dare to sing Gilda different from what I've told you?" - Dal Monte had allowed herself some 'coloratura' in 'Caro nome'... Nevertheless 'La Scala' became her artistic home. After triumphs in Italy and Paris, she was invited by the aging Nellie Melba for a tour of Australia. On December 5 in 1924, dal Monte gave her first Met-performance - as LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR. She received more bad than good reviews, and after only two more performances (LUCIA and RIGOLETTO in 1925), Toti dal Monte left the Met and escaped from the rivalry with Amelita Gallic-Curci. In 1954 - nine years after dal Montes retirement from the stage - the aging soprano walked into the dressing room of Maria Callas after a performance of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in Milan. In tears, dal Monte said to Callas: "Tonight I profoundly understood Donizetti's music for the first time in my life."
Toti dal Montes voice was not a first-class instrument: Narrow, weightless and in the upper register without rounding (sometimes even sharp). It was the typical skinny singing bird-voice; clear in diction, girlish-sweet in character. She sings Lucia's mad scene in freestyle with vocal pirouettes. Her 'Casta diva' from Bellini's NORMA is insubstantial and Rossini's Rosina without hidden wit and sophistication. She recorded the duet 'Dunque io son' with the italian baritone Luigi Montesanto and speaks the phrase "Un biglietto? Eccolo qua..." like a toddler. But yet... or better: Because of this dreamy playfulness, all of her recordings have a remarkable freshness and sympathetic vitality - features we also know from the records of Conchita Supervia. No wonder, in his book 'Great Voices', the German author Jens Malte Fischer included both in a chapter entitled 'Strange singers and other outsiders'.
The sometimes bizarre and grotesque recordings of Toti dal Monte may be an alternative for all those, who are bored with the daily operatic monotony.

Watch videos with other singers performing Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio:


Bianca, bianca...
il vessillo Americano delle stelle...
Or governa per ancorare.
prende sul tavolino un cannocchiale e corre sul terrazzo ad osservare
tutta tremante per l'emozione, appunta il cannocchiale verso il porto e dice a Suzuki:

Reggimi la mano ch'io ne discerna il nome,
Il nome, il nome.
Eccolo: Abramo Lincoln!
dà il cannocchiale a Suzuki e rientra nella stanza in preda a una grande esaltazione
Tutti han mentito! tutti, tutti!
sol io lo sapevo, sol io che l'amo.
a Suzuki
Vedi lo scimunito tuo dubbio?
È giunto! è giunto!
è giunto! proprio nel punto
che ognun diceva: piangi e dispera...
Trionfa il mio amor! il mio amor;
la mia fe' trionfa intera:
ei torna e m'ama!
giubilante, corre sul terrazzo
a Suzuki che l'ha seguita sul terrazzo

Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio
e m'innonda di fior.
Io vo' tuffar nella pioggia odorosa
l'arsa fronte.
singhiozzando per tenerezza

Signora, quetatevi... quel pianto...

ritorna con Suzuki nella stanza
No, rido, rido!
Quanto lo dovermo aspettar?
Che pensi? Un'ora!

Di più!

Due ore forse.
aggirandosi per la stanza
Tutto, tutto sia pien di fior,
come la notte è di faville.
accenna a Suzuki di andare nel giardino
Va pei fior.

Suzuki si avvia; giunta sul terrazzo si rivolge a Butterfly.

dal terrazzo
Tutti i fior?

a Suzuki gaiamente
Tutti i fior, tutti, tutti.
Pesco, viola, gelsomin,
quanto di cespo, o d'erba, o d'albero fiorì.

nel giardino ai piedi del terrazzo
Uno squallor d'inverno sarà tutto il giardin!
coglie fiori nel giardino

Tutta la primavera voglio che olezzi qui.

dal giardino
Uno squallor d'inverno sarà tutto il giardin.
appare ai piedi del terrazzo con un fascio di fiori che sporge a Butterfly
A voi signora.

prendendo i fiori dalle mani di Suzuki
Cogline ancora.
Butterfly dispone i fiori nei vasi, mentre Suzuki scende ancora nel giardino.

dal giardino
Soventi a questa siepe veniste a riguardare
lungi, piangendo nella deserta immensità.

Giunse l'atterso, nulla più chiedo al mare;
diedi pianto alla zolla, essa i suosi fior mi dà.

English Libretto or Translation:

White, white ...
the American flag of the stars ...
Or governs to anchor.
he picks up a telescope on the table and runs across the terrace to observe
all trembling with emotion, checking the telescope towards the port and saying to Suzuki:

Reggimi the hand that I discern the name,
The name, the name.
Here it is: Abraham Lincoln!
he gives Suzuki's telescope and returns to the room in the grip of a great exaltation
Everyone has lied! everyone, everyone!
I only knew it, only I love it.
to Suzuki Do you
see your doubt in doubt?
Came! came!
came! right in the point
that each one said: cry and despair ...
My love triumphs! my love;
my feudal triumphs:
and returns and loves me!
jubilant, he runs on the terrace
to Suzuki who has followed her on the terrace. She

shakes that cherry leaf
and greets me with flowers.
I wanted to plunge my brow into
the smelling rain .
sobbing for tenderness

calming her
Madam, quetatevi ... that cry ...

returns with Suzuki in the room
No, I laugh, I laugh!
How long will we have to wait?
What do you think? An hour!


Two hours maybe.
wandering around the room
Everything, everything is full of flowers,
like the night is sparks.
mentions Suzuki to go to the garden
Va pei fior.

Suzuki starts; arrived on the terrace, she turns to Butterfly.

from the terrace
All the flowers?

to Suzuki cheerfully
All the flowers, all, all.
Peach, violet, gelsomin,
how much of a tuft, or of grass, or of a tree bloomed.

in the garden at the foot of the terrace
A squallor in winter will be all the garden!
catches flowers in the garden

All spring I want you to oil here.

from the garden
A squalor in winter will be all the garden.
appears at the foot of the terrace with a bundle of flowers that protrudes to Butterfly

taking the flowers from the hands of Suzuki
Cogline again.
Butterfly arranges flowers in vases, while Suzuki still goes down into the garden.

from the garden
Often to this hedge you came to regard
far, weeping in the deserted immensity.

The attic arrived, nothing more I asked the sea;
I cried to the clod, it suosi fior gives me.

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