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Thread: "Medea" Callas; Serafin (studio)

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    Senior Member Notung's Avatar
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    Default "Medea" Callas; Serafin (studio)

    Just got it in the mail. Really excited. My first Medea.

    The recording uses Lachner's added recitatives and some cuts. Any opinions?
    "Blessed be your suffering"-Wagner, Parsifal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notung View Post
    The recording uses Lachner's added recitatives and some cuts. Any opinions?
    On the recitatives? Really, there's only one Medea on CD that uses original spoken dialogue. There's nothing to talk about here.

    If you will want to get more modern, lavish sound version later, get the Gardelli Medea with Gwyneth Jones and Bruno Prevedi. Only there you can really feel the power of one most fiery opera endings.
    Last edited by Aramis; Oct-08-2013 at 00:02.

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    Senior Member Notung's Avatar
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    So I assume the Gardelli doesn't use the spoken dialogue either?
    "Blessed be your suffering"-Wagner, Parsifal

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    No, only they do:



    But they're not up to the standard set by better recordings, vocally.
    Last edited by Aramis; Oct-08-2013 at 00:11.

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    Senior Member Notung's Avatar
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    Seems to be an under-recorded opera.
    "Blessed be your suffering"-Wagner, Parsifal

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    I've been listening to it. But I cannot read music, so I do not know for certain what is Cherubini and what is Lachner. I think that I know what is recitative and what isn't. Any guidance as to how much of Cherubini there is in this certain recording?
    Last edited by Notung; Oct-09-2013 at 22:37.
    "Blessed be your suffering"-Wagner, Parsifal

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    There used to be a Hungaroton recording with Sylvia Sass, the "new Callas," as she was termed. Also a French version (I.e. Medee) with Iano Tamar. NO ONE approaches Callas, however complete their editions. Though the Serafin is considered the third or fourth best of Callas performances because of her exhaustion, it's the only one in studio sound and even at less than her best, she trumps 'em all.
    Just sayn'.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notung View Post
    I've been listening to it. But I cannot read music, so I do not know for certain what is Cherubini and what is Lachner. I think that I know what is recitative and what isn't. Any guidance as to how much of Cherubini there is in this certain recording?
    Sorry, I can't answer that question, as I don't have the score, either. Nor do I have I compared it with the original version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notung View Post
    Just got it in the mail. Really excited. My first Medea.

    The recording uses Lachner's added recitatives and some cuts. Any opinions?
    No opinions but I do have a very strong suggestion ... duck while you still can, the avalanche isn't far behind

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    No opinions but I do have a very strong suggestion ... duck while you still can, the avalanche isn't far behind
    Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    Awwwww. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    That was great, Becca.
    "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier and more pleasant creature does not exist." - Thomas Carlyle

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    All three commercial recordings (Callas/Serafin, Jones/Gardelli and Sass/Gardelli) use a score which is essentially a hybrid. It was originally written to a French libretto with spoken dialogue. Franz Lachner prepared a German version in 1855, for which he wrote his own recitatives. In 1909 this version was performed for the first time in Italy in an Italian translation by Zangarini, and it is essentially this version that is used in all the above recordings.

    Callas first performed the role under Vittorio Gui in 1953, and it quickly became one of her signature roles, though no two Callas performances are the same. As the opera had no performing tradition, each conductor prepared their own edition. Their are minor differences between the performances we hear under Gui, Bernstein, Rescigno, Serafin and Schippers. I don't know exactly where Cherubini stops and Lachner begins, but it is safe to say all the arias, duets and ensembles are Cherubini.

    It is also safe to say that Callas is absolutely supreme in the part, though probably not best represented by the Serafin studio recording, which she recorded when she was in ill health. Nor is Serafin the most propulsive conductor. To hear Callas's Medea at its best, you need to hear the 1953 Gui and Bernstein performances and the 1958 Dallas performance under Rescigno, not the Covent Garden performance, when again she is not on her best form. That said, the studio recording was my first acquaintance with the score and, not having heard the live performances, I found it eminently satisfying. Still, if you enjoy this performance, I would urge you to try Gui, Bernstein and Rescigno/Dallas for a truly shattering emotional experience.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    The French (and original) version with spoken dialogue sung by Iano Tamar is the recording to get to hear the opera as Cherubini knew it. For a less authentic but arguably more dramatic approach I would recommend the Dallas 1958 Callas Medea (available on Myto or from seller Ars Vocalis on ebay). I have the Myto and it is in the best sound for that recording that I know, whereas some may prefer the Ars Vocalis.

    If you like the opera and Callas' singing of it, then perhaps go with the 1953 Scala or Florence recordings (and if you get really hooked I would also get the Dallas Magda Olivero one as well).

    N.
    N.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    The French (and original) version with spoken dialogue sung by Iano Tamar is the recording to get to hear the opera as Cherubini knew it. For a less authentic but arguably more dramatic approach I would recommend the Dallas 1958 Callas Medea (available on Myto or from seller Ars Vocalis on ebay). I have the Myto and it is in the best sound for that recording that I know, whereas some may prefer the Ars Vocalis.

    If you like the opera and Callas' singing of it, then perhaps go with the 1953 Scala or Florence recordings (and if you get really hooked I would also get the Dallas Magda Olivero one as well).

    N.
    N.
    I don't think there's a perfect Medea to be found- a 'composite' Medea always works for me though.

    - For the delicate and touching moments of Medea- I treasure Callas' '57 Serafin above all others.



    - For overall incandescent high drama I love the Dallas performance.



    - And <drum roll> for the greatest vocal display of controlled vitriol that dramatically supernovas into merciless ferocity: I always reach for the '53 Florence- that is to say, for the very last cut of the opera: "E che? Io son Medea."



    At least that's the combo-pack that works for me.
    Last edited by Marschallin Blair; May-31-2015 at 23:49.
    "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier and more pleasant creature does not exist." - Thomas Carlyle

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    I have only listened to the Bernstein Medea once (and on the dreadful EMI set) and I have heard the Florence only once as well. Is it true that the Florence version is the most complete that Callas performed (i.e. Gui's performing version)? Where are there extra bits of music that she doesn't sing elsewhere?

    Thanks,
    N.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    I have only listened to the Bernstein Medea once (and on the dreadful EMI set) and I have heard the Florence only once as well. Is it true that the Florence version is the most complete that Callas performed (i.e. Gui's performing version)? Where are there extra bits of music that she doesn't sing elsewhere?

    Thanks,
    N.
    Yes, that is the consensus, Florence = more music. It's usually in Medea's part that the conductors she worked with made their tiny or large cuts. For instance, Bernstein cuts her last "Pietà!" in "Dei tuo figli la madre" and probably everyone cut a lot of her last act scene. But I never compared editions and don't care, as long as Callas sings it. Iano Tamar seems to follow Callas's lead in her singing of Medee', even in French. But no one really compares to Callas. I don't follow the score, so I take the cut Medeas at face value, and really prefer the recitatives. I don't think Callas would have done the spoken dialog, anyway.
    BTW, you should get 'em ALL!
    Last edited by MAS; May-31-2015 at 23:34.

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