Author Topic: Maria Callas  (Read 106255 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #560 on: February 09, 2015, 11:27:29 AM »
I came across this review of the recently released Warner remastered complete studio recordings boxset:

http://www.mcelhearn.com/the-new-maria-callas-remasters-good-or-bad/

A dissenting voice, it seems, as all the criticism I've read so far has been more than positive. Any thoughts from people on here who own the new remasters?

I have the new Warner set and can attest to the fact that the new masters are preferable in every way to the ones done for the 2007 Callas Edition box, which Andrew Rose seems to like so much. Some of the older re-masters from back in 1987 (when Keith Hardwick was doing them) apparently sound better but differences are marginal.

I have been really impressed by the new set and I even have my memories of old LPs to draw on. The new set also corrects certain errors of pitch that had crept into the 2007 set plus a major blunder, where the re-mastering engineer "corrected" Walter Legge's original idea for Tosca's entrance. He recorded her voice getting closer, so that each call of Mario brought her voice closer to the listener. The re-master thought this was wrong and cut the first two, just repeating the third three times so they were all at the same volume. Callas and Legge worked for hours to get the effect he wanted, so it was rather a case of lese majeste!

I got rid of all my previous Callas CDs when I got the new Warner set and I'm extremely happy with it.


 
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline betterthanfine

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #561 on: February 09, 2015, 12:30:33 PM »
Ah, that is very good to hear, especially from a Callas expert like yourself, Tsaraslondon. ;) I am planning on getting the new set as soon as I can make some financial room for it. Can't wait.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #562 on: February 09, 2015, 01:05:03 PM »
Ah, that is very good to hear, especially from a Callas expert like yourself, Tsaraslondon. ;) I am planning on getting the new set as soon as I can make some financial room for it. Can't wait.

It's well worth it, and I see the price has already come down quite a bit since I got it.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas


Offline king ubu

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #564 on: July 06, 2015, 10:42:53 AM »
Thanks for sharing Jens! It's indeed a marvellous box, though I'd always enjoy more text in those books!
Es wollt ein meydlein grasen gan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Und do die roten röslein stan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Fick mich mehr, du hast dein ehr.
Kannstu nit, ich wills dich lern.
Fick mich, lieber Peter!

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Offline bobleflaneur

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #565 on: August 30, 2015, 06:31:57 PM »
Given the recent reissues by Myto and others, could some kind soul offer a summary of the best-sounding releases of some or all of the seven Callas Traviatas? They are, I believe:

1951 Mexico City - de Fabritiis
1952 Mexico City - Mugnai
1953 Cetra (studio) - Santini
1955 La Scala - Giulini
1956 La Scala? - Giulini
1958 Lisbon - Ghionne
1958 Convent Garden - Rescigno

No others have emerged, right?

And of those, what's the best-sounding issue of any of the live ones (i.e., excluding the Cetra recording, which for me is ruled out as a first choice on account of her colleagues)?

Offline knight66

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #566 on: August 30, 2015, 10:32:03 PM »
The expert here is Tsarslondon. He has written about these performances through this thread. If he does not chance by to give you his advice, you might try to PM him; though I think that what you want is piecemeal in the thread already.

Cheers,

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #567 on: September 03, 2015, 01:10:23 PM »
Given the recent reissues by Myto and others, could some kind soul offer a summary of the best-sounding releases of some or all of the seven Callas Traviatas? They are, I believe:

1951 Mexico City - de Fabritiis
1952 Mexico City - Mugnai
1953 Cetra (studio) - Santini
1955 La Scala - Giulini
1956 La Scala? - Giulini
1958 Lisbon - Ghionne
1958 Convent Garden - Rescigno

No others have emerged, right?

And of those, what's the best-sounding issue of any of the live ones (i.e., excluding the Cetra recording, which for me is ruled out as a first choice on account of her colleagues)?

The ones to have are La Scala 1955 (best on arsvocalis, but that might not be available at the moment), Lisbon 1958, and, best of all, Covent Garden 1958.

She is in fresher voice on the La Scala set, which is a record of a justly famous night in the theatre. The down side is Bastianini's relentlessly loud and unsympathetic Germont.
Her colleagues in Lisbon (Kraus and Sereni) are much better, but Ghione's conducting is a but four square.
Covent Garden catches one of those nights when everything seems to come together. Zanasi's sympathetic and musical singing is a perfect foil for Callas in the big Act II duet, and Valletti is perfect as Alfredo. Rescigno, not always the most exciting of conductors, is here inspired. Callas was not in her very best voice, but I still find it the performance where voice and art come together. It's the one I would never be without.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #568 on: August 02, 2017, 06:51:33 AM »
Bumping this thread to mention that this year sees the 40th anniversary of Callas's death, on 16 September.

Warner, who now own EMI's classical catalogue, and all Callas's studio recordings, are honouring the event with an issue of twenty live Callas operas, some of which she never recorded in the studio, though it remains to be seen what the sound will be like.



Today also marks the 70th anniversary of her debut in Italy in La Gioconda at the Verona Arena, under the baton of Tullio Serafin, who was to become her mentor and guide over the next few years, and who conducted the majority of her studio sets.

As Mike stated in the opening post of this thread, started 10 years ago, the ripples still go on.



\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #569 on: August 02, 2017, 07:09:36 AM »
Bumping this thread to mention that this year sees the 40th anniversary of Callas's death, on 16 September.

Warner, who now own EMI's classical catalogue, and all Callas's studio recordings, are honouring the event with an issue of twenty live Callas operas, some of which she never recorded in the studio, though it remains to be seen what the sound will be like.



Today also marks the 70th anniversary of her debut in Italy in La Gioconda at the Verona Arena, under the baton of Tullio Serafin, who was to become her mentor and guide over the next few years, and who conducted the majority of her studio sets.

As Mike stated in the opening post of this thread, started 10 years ago, the ripples still go on.

Does that mean we will need to wait for the first obsessive or brave soul to plonk down their money and get the set on Sept. 15 before we find out what the sound is like?  I have just enough already of those performances to make the sound the deciding factor in getting that.

There is the 2CD sampler (my word, not theirs) they are issuing along with it



Quote
Editorial Reviews
It is 40 years since Maria Callas died (16th September 1977), but she lives on as the epitome of the operatic diva. She has never lost her place among the top-selling classical artists. To mark this anniversary alongside the luxury boxset – 0190295844707 Maria Callas Live - Warner Classics also releases two compilations: 2CD Digipak 1LP Standard 180gr. These two collections benefit from the superb new remastering and convey thus Callas’ compelling genius as a singing actress with a new truthfulness and immediacy: Maria Callas Live and Alive! ü The passion and charisma of Maria Callas, performing live on the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls, can now be experienced as never before – thanks to new audio remastering from the best available sources. These are performances that played a crucial part in creating the legend of Callas, La Divina, and which keep her thrilling art very much alive.

Track Listings
Disc: 1
  1. Tosca, Act 2: "Vissi d'arte" (Tosca)
  2. Tosca, Act 3: "E non giungono" (Tosca, Cavaradossi, Carceriere)
  3. Tosca, Act 3: "Come è lunga l'attesa!" (Tosca)
  4. Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 1: "Regnava nel silenzio alta la notte e bruna" (Lucia, Alisa)
  5. Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 1: "Quando rapito in estasi" (Lucia)
  6. Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 3: "Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce! ... Ardon gli incensi" (Lucia, Rai
  7. Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 3: "Spargi d'amaro pianto" (Lucia, Raimondo, Chorus, Enrico)
  8. Anna Bolena, Act 2: "Piangete voi? D'onde tal pianto?" (Anna, Chorus)
  9. Anna Bolena, Act 2: "Al dolce guidami castel natio" (Anna)
  10. Anna Bolena, Act 2: "Qual mesto suon?" (Anna, Hervey, Percy, Rochefort, Smeton, Chorus)
  11. Anna Bolena, Act 2: "Cielo, a' miei lunghi spasimi" (Anna, Smeton, Percy, Rochefort, Chorus)
  12. Anna Bolena, Act 2: "Coppia iniqua, l'estrema vendetta" (Anna, Smeton, Percy, Rochefort, Chorus)
  13. Aida, Act 1: "Ritorna vincitor!" (Aida)
  14. Aida, Act 2: "O Re, pei sacri numi ... Gloria all'Egitto" (Radamès, Amneris, Amonasro, King, Aida, C

Disc: 2
  1. Norma, Act 1: "Casta Diva" (Norma, Chorus, Oroveso)
  2. La Traviata, Act 1: "Libiamo, ne' lieti calici" (Chorus, Violetta, Flora, Marchese, Gastone, Alfredo
  3. La Traviata, Act 1: "È strano! È strano!" (Violetta)
  4. La Traviata, Act 1: "Ah, fors'è lui che l'anima" (Violetta)
  5. La Traviata, Act 1: "Follie! follie! Delirio vano è questo!" (Violetta)
  6. La Traviata, Act 1: "Sempre libera" (Violetta, Alfredo)
  7. La Traviata, Act 3: "Addio, del passato" (Violetta)
  8. Parsifal, WWV 111, Act 2: "Ho visto, il figlio sul materno sen" (Kundry)
  9. La Sonnambula, Act 2: "Ah! non credea mirarti" (Amina, Elvino)
  10. Iphigénie en Tauride, Wq. 46, Act 2: "O sventurata Ifigenia" (Iphigénie, Chorus)
  11. Poliuto, Act 1: "Di quai soavi lagrime" (Paolina)
  12. Il Pirata, Act 1: "Sorgete; è in me dover" (Imogene, Itulbo, Adele)
  13. Il Pirata, Act 1: "Lo sognai ferito, esangue" (Imogene, Adele, Chorus)
  14. Il Pirata, Act 1: "Quando a un tratto il mio consorte" (Imogene, Chorus, Itulbo, Adele, Gualtiero)
  15. Il Pirata, Act 1: "Sventurata, anch'io deliro" (Imogene, Adele, Chorus)
  16. Andrea Chénier, Act 3: "La mamma morta" (Maddalena, Gérard)
  17. Turandot, Act 2: "In questa Reggia" (Turandot, Chorus, Calaf)


Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #570 on: August 02, 2017, 07:37:33 AM »
Does that mean we will need to wait for the first obsessive or brave soul to plonk down their money and get the set on Sept. 15 before we find out what the sound is like?  I have just enough already of those performances to make the sound the deciding factor in getting that.

There is the 2CD sampler (my word, not theirs) they are issuing along with it



I am curious about the Turandot aria that is included. Apparently it is supposed to be from Buenos Aires, but all that exists of that performance, as far as I'm aware, are a couple of snippets from the last act. Some years ago, Rodolphe issued In questa reggia from the same performance, but this turned out to be a fake, being a conflation of Callas's 1954 studio account and Del Monaco's Decca recording with added background crackle and audience noise. I hope Warner haven't just decided to revive this travesty.

As to the sound quality, we will have to wait and see. Some of the sources are pretty intransigent, particularly Nabucco, La Vestale and Alceste. Nor have they necessarily gone for the best live performance in each case. I'd have gone for the 1955 La Scala Norma, the 1958 Covent Garden La Traviata, the 1957 Cologne La Sonnambula and the 1958 Dallas Medea.



\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #571 on: August 02, 2017, 07:58:05 AM »
I am curious about the Turandot aria that is included. Apparently it is supposed to be from Buenos Aires, but all that exists of that performance, as far as I'm aware, are a couple of snippets from the last act. Some years ago, Rodolphe issued In questa reggia from the same performance, but this turned out to be a fake, being a conflation of Callas's 1954 studio account and Del Monaco's Decca recording with added background crackle and audience noise. I hope Warner haven't just decided to revive this travesty.

As to the sound quality, we will have to wait and see. Some of the sources are pretty intransigent, particularly Nabucco, La Vestale and Alceste. Nor have they necessarily gone for the best live performance in each case. I'd have gone for the 1955 La Scala Norma, the 1958 Covent Garden La Traviata, the 1957 Cologne La Sonnambula and the 1958 Dallas Medea.

Fortunately for me I've already heeded your advice on those.  The only one of those I don't have is the Norma.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #572 on: August 02, 2017, 08:04:38 AM »
Prestoclassic does not yet list that 2CD issue, but its description of the big box
includes this

Quote
This set makes use of the best available source material, which includes tapes recently discovered by Tom Volf (director of the forthcoming film Callas in her own words) in the archives of the Italian collector, Oscar Costellacci.

Does that give you any clues?

BTW, looking at the Presto listing, I decided to not get the box, especially if they issue individual operas as they did with the studio set.  The three videos are all blu-ray, and I don't have a blu-ray player.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #573 on: August 02, 2017, 01:06:14 PM »
Fortunately for me I've already heeded your advice on those.  The only one of those I don't have is the Norma.

The 1955 La Scala Norma is an absolute must, maybe the greatest performance of the role she ever gave. Fabulous cast too, and Votto, who is normally something of a routiniere, does a great job accompanying Callas, which, really, is all you have to do with a Callas.

The Divina Records version is in excellent sound too. Don't hesitate.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #574 on: August 02, 2017, 01:11:12 PM »
Prestoclassic does not yet list that 2CD issue, but its description of the big box
includes this

Does that give you any clues?

BTW, looking at the Presto listing, I decided to not get the box, especially if they issue individual operas as they did with the studio set.  The three videos are all blu-ray, and I don't have a blu-ray player.

I'm very tempted by the box, if only for the presentation and accompanying material . But the name Oscar Cosetlacci means nothing to me, so I have no idea what the sound will be like.

I have the Tom Volf book, which is lavish and beautifully presented, though still not as good as John Ardoin and Gerald Fitzgerald's 1973 book Callas, which is still, IMO, the best coffee table book ever produced about Callas.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #575 on: August 03, 2017, 02:11:01 AM »

I have the Tom Volf book, which is lavish and beautifully presented, though still not as good as John Ardoin and Gerald Fitzgerald's 1973 book Callas, which is still, IMO, the best coffee table book ever produced about Callas.

While searching Google for the abovementioned book, I stumbled on this article from 1981, about the time I read Stassinopoulos' bio.

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/31/books/publishing-callas-book-stirs-dispute.html

The following came as a complete surprise, even after all these years:

"Commenting on the La Scala ''La Traviata,'' Mr. Fitzgerald, who wrote the section of ''Callas'' titled ''The Great Years,'' noted: ''Violetta bows to the father's demands in the tender 'Ah! Dite alla giovine,' which Callas sang with her face inclined to the floor, her voice a mere whisper that somehow filled the theater'' (page 123). The Stassinopoulos version of that passage reads: ''She sang 'Dite alla giovine,' her renunciation of her lover in response to her father's plea, with her face inclined to the floor and her voice a mere whisper that somehow filled the theater'' (page 142)."
"I write to discover what I know."
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #576 on: August 03, 2017, 03:45:40 AM »
While searching Google for the abovementioned book, I stumbled on this article from 1981, about the time I read Stassinopoulos' bio.

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/31/books/publishing-callas-book-stirs-dispute.html

The following came as a complete surprise, even after all these years:

"Commenting on the La Scala ''La Traviata,'' Mr. Fitzgerald, who wrote the section of ''Callas'' titled ''The Great Years,'' noted: ''Violetta bows to the father's demands in the tender 'Ah! Dite alla giovine,' which Callas sang with her face inclined to the floor, her voice a mere whisper that somehow filled the theater'' (page 123). The Stassinopoulos version of that passage reads: ''She sang 'Dite alla giovine,' her renunciation of her lover in response to her father's plea, with her face inclined to the floor and her voice a mere whisper that somehow filled the theater'' (page 142)."

I would assume that Stassinopoulos is borrowing from Fitzgerald. The chapter on the Visconti La Traviata is incredibly detailed. Read alongside the many photos, you almost feel as if you are there watching the performance. This kind of detailed observation doesn't seem to exist anymore. I often think of Peter Heyworth's description of the same moment in the Covent Garden production of 1958, which he reviewed for the Observer newspaper.

Quote
But perhaps the most marvellous moment of the evening was the long sustained B flat before Violetta descends to the opening phrase of “Dite alla giovine”. This is the moment of decision on which the whole opera turns. By some miracle, Callas makes that note hang unsuspended in mid air; unadorned and unsupported she fills it with all the conflicting emotions that besiege her. As she descends to the aria, which she opened with a sweet, distant mezza voce of extraordinary poignancy, the die is cast.

Such detailed critique is rare these days.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #577 on: August 03, 2017, 03:55:06 AM »
I would assume that Stassinopoulos is borrowing from Fitzgerald. The chapter on the Visconti La Traviata is incredibly detailed. Read alongside the many photos, you almost feel as if you are there watching the performance. This kind of detailed observation doesn't seem to exist anymore. I often think of Peter Heyworth's description of the same moment in the Covent Garden production of 1958, which he reviewed for the Observer newspaper.

Plagiarism is more like it. According to the article, she did not cite Fitzgerald's book as one of her sources. That is not nice!!!

Such detailed critique is rare these days.

On both sides there is a falling off or laziness. The reader loses patience in having to exert his or her imagination. So writers don't bother much anymore.
It happens I am reading (maybe this time I will actually finish it) the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence. He had a cinematic mind but also the rare ability to put what he saw into 3D Technicolor words.
"I write to discover what I know."
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #578 on: August 03, 2017, 04:29:13 AM »
Plagiarism is more like it. According to the article, she did not cite Fitzgerald's book as one of her sources. That is not nice!!!

On both sides there is a falling off or laziness. The reader loses patience in having to exert his or her imagination. So writers don't bother much anymore.
It happens I am reading (maybe this time I will actually finish it) the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence. He had a cinematic mind but also the rare ability to put what he saw into 3D Technicolor words.

Hahaha. I was being charitable. The Stassinopoulos book, like so many of the Callas biographies by people who don't understand music, tends to go for the sensational, so it's one I don't take much notice of.

I've never read the Lawrence, though it's been on my list for a long time. I don't read anywhere as much as I used to. I never seem to have the time.


\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #579 on: August 03, 2017, 06:13:47 AM »
I'm listening to the Juilliard Masterclasses at the moment. Fascinating.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL09F93460516754C7



\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

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