What led you to choose Rosina Storchio – perhaps most famous as Puccini’s original Butterfly – as the subject for your new album?

Over the last 10 years, when I started to sing verismoroles like Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica and others, I have heard often from different singers, conductors and managers that the established way to sing these roles was only for dramatic sopranos. I took this approach as the established rule for good reasons until I checked the score, read Puccini’s letters, and in the end heard the old recordings of Rosina Storchio. I had a hunch that there was something wrong with the established opinion but kept it to myself for a while. Her voice and approach were the reason for this album. It revealed a truth that had been buried wrongfully.

Ermonela Jaho. Photograph © Fadil Berisha

What do you think it was it about Storchio that made so many important composers line up to write roles for her?

Storchio was a pure lyrical soprano that not only Puccini, but almost all the verismocomposers begged to...