“And so my Butterfly, my passionate little one, wants to leave me?” wrote Puccini in a letter to his leading lady shortly after the famously disastrous premiere of Madama Butterflyin 1904. “It seems to me that in going you take away the best, the most  poetic part of my work. Or to express myself better: I think that Butterflywithout Rosina Storchio becomes a thing without a soul.”

Storchio (1872–1945) was clearly a force to be reckoned with, and now the Venetian-born soprano is the subject of Ermonela Jaho’s spinetingling new album, Anima Rara. It’s the latest in a series of revelatory recital discs on the pioneering Opera Rara label that aim to illuminate the lives and repertoire of significant singers...

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