Author Topic: Maria Callas  (Read 177953 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #60 on: August 23, 2007, 02:04:04 AM »
I have re-read this thread I have a few thoughts as a result of now having heard my first Callas recording: Serafin's 1953 Cavaleria Rusticana...

Can I say I have never been so powerfully moved by any one voice?

Honestly, this first listen is an experience like no other. Her voice has an intense power and fullness that I have never before heard. Equally stunning is her expression. And by this I mean that it is suprising that such a massive voice is also one that is so skillfully controlled unlike, for example, someone like Del Monaco. What I am also stunned and immensely pleased by is her lower register. As someone who often finds soprano's voices too ear pierching, I find this very satisfying. I makes her music-making sound sincere to me; she seemed to have a range that allowed her to do whatever she wanted, despite what conventional wisdom, previous performances and the roles dictated.

Let me not take too much credit away from Serafin's brilliant orchestra or the other vocal standouts on the recording, such as Di Stefano. And of course the brilliant music in the first place courtesy of Mascagni. But this recording has immediately become one of my most treasured, and has led me to immediately order Lucia di Lammermoor with Karajan, Gobbi and Di Stefano (what a cast!) and Tosca, again with Gobbi and Di Sefano.

Thanks also for the brilliant posts in this thread.

Hi Michel,

As one of Callas's greatest admirers, may I first congratulate you on your discovery. Your reactions very much mirror my own when I first discovered her many years ago. Fortunately, your first experience is of Callas when her voice was at its absolute peak. The two recordings you have ordered also find her at her best, though the Karajan Lucia has Panerai and not Gobbi in the role of Enrico. Gobbi is on the Serafin recording. No matter, both performances find her in excellent voice.

I well remember my first discovery of Callas, and the excitement I felt listening to each of the new sets acquired. Be aware, however, that the voice did change quite a lot. Most of what she recorded in the 1950s is fine, but you will still hear quite a difference between, say, the Cavalleria Rusticana she recorded in 1953 and the Gioconda she recorded in 1959. After 1960, the voice gradually became more problematic and some of the later recordings from the mid 1960s can be quite hard to listen to. There are times I find the unsteadiness and the wobble too hard to take, and yet at other times I hardly notice it, so unerringly she finds the right mood and colour for what she is singing. Even when the voice was failing her, her musicianship was never in doubt. This is what really singles her out. She was first and foremost a musician and secondly a voice. With most singers the reverse is true.

Norma is an absolute must, as this was the role most associated with her, and the one she sang most often. EMI have 3 recordings in their catalogue. The first studio recording was made in 1954, and finds her in pretty secure voice, though the supporting cast is not as good as on the later 1960 studio recording. Nor is she so inside the role. EMI have also issued her Covent Garden debut in the role, from 1952, a live broadcast in so so sound. Again, she is in sovereign voice, but she did find more depth in the role later. IMO, the very best of all her Normas is a live performance, form La Scala in 1955. It is conducted by Antonino Votto and has Mario Del Monaco and Giulietta Simionato in the cast. It finds Callas on a night when her voice seems to be responding to her every whim. It's well worth seeking out. The best sound is probably to be found on the version at http://www.divinarecords.com/.

Also essential is Callas's Violetta. Unfortuantely, the only studio recording is a 1952 performance she recorded for the Cetra label, and is not really satisfactory. EMI have issued two live performances, the 1955 Giulini, an exciting memento of one of the most influential moments in operatic history and a later Lisbon performance with Alfredo Kraus. However I am hoping that the Royal Opera House, who have started releasing historic performances from their vaults, will get round to issuing the one she did at the house in 1958, with Cesare Valetti and Mario Zanasi, as it represents Callas's Violetta at its very best.

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

Offline knight66

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2007, 12:53:46 PM »
Michel, Like I said when you asked what the big deal is about this singer, we can write loads, but you have to hear her to understand what she is about. So, it is gratifying you have got the bug. There is a great Verdi disc of arias and it was in these recordings on LP I first heard her. No one singing the Lady Macbeth arias seems to come close to her delineation of the character. You can hear her think and that is much of the fascination to me.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #62 on: September 25, 2007, 03:37:50 AM »
For anyone interested in this thread or anyone just getting the Callas bug, EMI have just released a 70 disc set of all Callas's studio recordings, including those she did for Cetra. HMV in Oxford Street are selling this for a ludicrously cheap £70, which works out at £1 per disc. It certainly cost me an awful lot more to collect all these sets!

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

Michel

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #63 on: September 25, 2007, 11:20:50 AM »
Christ almighty, that is a massive bargain!!!

Should I get it? Surely I should - thats ten minutes from here :)

Offline Que

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #64 on: September 25, 2007, 11:32:30 AM »
For anyone interested in this thread or anyone just getting the Callas bug, EMI have just released a 70 disc set of all Callas's studio recordings, including those she did for Cetra. HMV in Oxford Street are selling this for a ludicrously cheap £70, which works out at £1 per disc. It certainly cost me an awful lot more to collect all these sets!

I guess no librettos?  :-\ (I hate that!  :()

Q

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #65 on: September 25, 2007, 11:39:42 AM »
I guess no librettos?  :-\ (I hate that!  :()

Q

No, but there is a bonus CD-ROM with full libretti and translations.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Que

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #66 on: September 25, 2007, 05:38:09 PM »
No, but there is a bonus CD-ROM with full libretti and translations.

Oh, but that's excellent. :)
Now, I'm even considering this box - I haven't really that much of complete operas with her.

Q
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 05:39:57 PM by Que »

Michel

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2007, 02:07:16 AM »
I can't seem to find a list of everythin included on Amazon - can anyone help?

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2007, 02:40:12 AM »
I can't seem to find a list of everythin included on Amazon - can anyone help?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//5062432.htm
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Anne

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2007, 04:49:23 AM »
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//5062432.htm

BTW the mdt web site that Wendell cited is excellent for ordering things difficult to find.  Last I heard it was a mom and pop business.  If they didn't have the item, they would search until they found the it.  They also sell easy-to-find cd's and DVD's like any other site.

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #70 on: September 26, 2007, 05:04:00 AM »
Oh, but that's excellent. :)
Now, I'm even considering this box - I haven't really that much of complete operas with her.

Q

I was in a similar spot, and I picked it up on my birthday (September 19th). Should take me a while to listen through it, though!

Offline Que

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #71 on: September 26, 2007, 06:43:47 AM »
I was in a similar spot, and I picked it up on my birthday (September 19th). Should take me a while to listen through it, though!

Renfield, how is the packaging - envelopes or cases?
I'm particularly interested if I can categorise the operas separately in my collection (on composer) and do away with the big cardboard box, or that I have to keep the lot together because of the packaging.

Q


Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #72 on: September 26, 2007, 07:16:52 AM »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Renfield

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #73 on: September 26, 2007, 11:29:29 AM »
Renfield, how is the packaging - envelopes or cases?
I'm particularly interested if I can categorise the operas separately in my collection (on composer) and do away with the big cardboard box, or that I have to keep the lot together because of the packaging.

Q



Well, the box simply contains seventy envelopes with the CDs, and a booklet with the individual CD contents: #1-69 are used for the music, and #70 is the one with the libretti.

All in all a "neat" enough package, spartan yet complete. :)

Offline knight66

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #74 on: September 26, 2007, 11:37:29 AM »
If I did not have most of the Callas discs that I want, I would snap it up. What a bargain.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Hector

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #75 on: September 27, 2007, 04:41:03 AM »
For anyone interested in this thread or anyone just getting the Callas bug, EMI have just released a 70 disc set of all Callas's studio recordings, including those she did for Cetra. HMV in Oxford Street are selling this for a ludicrously cheap £70, which works out at £1 per disc. It certainly cost me an awful lot more to collect all these sets!



It weighs 8kg, take a wheelbarrow! ;D

Offline Sarastro

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #76 on: December 22, 2007, 01:51:05 PM »
Can someone list the things that make Callas unique/controversial/special etc. etc

I can say the only thing that makes her unique is her divine musicianship. (if you know what I mean!)

Offline wagnernn

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2007, 03:56:13 AM »
I always love Callas singing in these 2 mezzo roles;Carmen and Delilah.Beautiful low notes in the range of mezzo soprano,charmed and enchanted voice,wonderful acting...

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #78 on: December 25, 2007, 01:32:49 PM »
I can say the only thing that makes her unique is her divine musicianship. (if you know what I mean!)

I know exactly what you mean. It's hard, if not impossible, to explain it, but it is assuredly the reason she has been so highly admired by so many musicians from completely different spheres, Claudio Arrau and Victoria Mullova, to name but two.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline wagnernn

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Re: Maria Callas
« Reply #79 on: December 29, 2007, 04:59:06 AM »
To Tsaraslondon:Why did Callas refuse to sing Queen of the night in The Magic flute?