This recording is unusual in that none of the principals had much prior experience with "Butterfly". Therefore, the performance is not exactly what one is accustomed to hearing, but that in no way diminshes its power and the beauty of the singing.
True, Steber does not come across as a victim. But she is totally engaging nevertheless, and offers the listener a compelling and believable interpretation of the role. Tucker is outstanding as Pinkerton. His "Dovunque al mondo" is more ardent and convincing than most; he truly sounds like a "Yankee vagabondo". The love duet shows the intensity of emotion which both singers bring to the roles, and Steber really hits her stride with "Un bel di".
While this may not be the definitive "Butterfly", it has much to offer, and should not be ignored by anyone who loves this opera. As part of the Sony/Columbia Masterworks Heritage series, it has been remastered in rich, warm mono, with excellent packaging, including good notes and a libretto.