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Humming Chorus (Madam Butterfly)


In Puccini's opera, Madam Butterfly , the Coro a bocca chiusa ( Humming Chorus ) is performed by an off-stage chorus which hums a wordless, melancholy tune, whilst Butterfly, her maid Suzuki, and her child begin the long wait for husband Pinkerton to return after many years away. As night falls, Suzuki and the child are soon asleep, but Butterfly keeps her vigil. This arrangement features four flugel horns, each of which plays into the bell of a bass whilst the bass player moves the valves - creating a unique humming sound.

Puccini actually wrote five versions of the opera, Madam Butterfly . After a disastrous premiere in early 1904, Puccini withdrew the opera and substantially rewrote it creating a very successful second version. However, he continued to tinker with the orchestration, not being satisfied until the fifth, and now standard, version dating from 1907.

Item Code: TPBB-007
Duration: c.2'40"
Grade: Suitable for all

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