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Thread: New MARIA CALLAS box set......

  1. #4621
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Alec Robertson died in 1982, by which time the De Sabata Tosca had entered the pantheon of legendary recordings. I wonder if he ever acknowledged he got it wrong.
    I happen to like the first Tebaldi Tosca and I can see where a critic of his own time, without an eye to the future, might find it more to his liking. In fact, in her day, Callas was not recognized by that many as an artist who transcended the form in which she worked, a fact which always surprises me.

    The Tebaldi recording is probably the best Puccini would have expected of his mediocre score. He could never have dreamed that a performance like the Callas/de Sabata would actually transcend the music itself, and one has to wonder if he'd have felt a bit embarrassed. One thing the Tebaldi recording has: no cut after "Vissi d'arte", which Callas always made, and Tebaldi, following Callas, took in her second recording. Conversely, Callas 1953 sang "E avanti a lui..." on pitch brilliantly, while RT spoke it melodramatically. In her second recording, Tebaldi, again following Callas, sang it on pitch, and went one better: she sang "Muori, muori, muori" on their written pitches--which Callas never did. Ironically, Callas never again sang "E avanti..." and only spoke it., to my ear never as effectively. She was not a verbal actress, but a great musician using pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and pure musical expression to create drama.
    Last edited by RES; Jan-16-2019 at 00:09.

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    ^^^^ My favorite Tebaldi Tosca was the 56 MET broadcast with typical high quality MET cast of the time, but recently Andrew Rose of Pristine XR was presented with recently discovered high quality 33 1/3 acetate discs of 55 ROH performance with Gobbi, previously available only in lower quality sound releases this remaster now has to be essential listening for fans of Tebaldi.




    Pristine XR website:

    Renata Tebaldi's debut season at London's Covent Garden began on 28 June 1955 with her singing the title role in Puccini's Tosca. Perhaps fearing opening night nerves or mistakes, the BBC opted for the performance two nights later for their live broadcast from the Royal Opera House. Despite Robert Levine noted in a Classics Today review that noted the "blaring but acceptable" AM-quality sound of a previous issue, he gushed: "Tebaldi’s voice is remarkably fresh and secure, with all five high Cs in place and offering no problems; the registers are perfectly knit and the sound grand, beautiful, and womanly ... If you love Tebaldi you’ll adore her here in this gloriously sung and very committed reading ... Tito Gobbi of course is sui generis. From his opening, snarling statement in church, through his lascivious, sneering, “Ebbene” and disgusting “Tosca, finalmente mia” and even beyond, he terrifies."
    We are fortunate that an anonymous music lover commissioned a studio with disc-cutting equipment and a suitable VHF receiver that night to record the live transmission onto a set of 33rpm acetate disc sides, as this remarkable new find (via a 1/4" tape dub) has proved to be immeasurably superior in sound quality to the previously reviewed recording, and proved to be a superb source for this new XR remastered release
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Jan-16-2019 at 13:56.

  4. #4623
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Robert E. Seletsky’s (RES) recommendations for CALLAS RECORDINGS has been revised and can be found on the Divina Records website.
    Please click below.

    https://www.divinarecords.com/articl...ions_2019.html
    Last edited by MAS; Jan-17-2019 at 00:44.

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    Default Callas Recording Recommendations 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Robert E. Seletsky’s (RES) recommendations for CALLAS RECORDINGS has been revised and can be found on the Divina Records website.
    Please click below.

    https://www.divinarecords.com/articl...ions_2019.html
    Thanks very much to RES (Robert E. Seletsky) for the eagerly awaited update to his Callas Recording Recommendations which is now published for 2019 on the Divina Records website. Seletsky offers the best one-article guide to Callas’s recorded legacy.

    Back in March 1974, when I was of a very tender age, I bought a copy of High Fidelity magazine which included David Hamilton’s piece “The Recordings of Maria Callas.” I literally dog-eared that article to death in collecting my first Callas recordings. Each time I got a new record, I would ink it off David Hamilton’s list. My copy of the magazine eventually fell apart!

    In 1974, Hamilton’s article was the best single overall guide to Callas’s recorded output. In 2019, Seletsky’s is the best one-stop overview. The ultimate tribute to Seletsky’s Recommendations article is that he leaves me exhausted - exhausted locating or re-locating his many pertinent Callas recording recommendations. But, it is a happy exhaustion!

    For example, after reading Seletsky 2019, my mouth is watering for the many Ars Vocalis releases. I wish somehow that Ars Vocalis could sell its albums continuously (maybe in conjunction with Divina Records?) instead of only occasionally as an extremely special event on eBay!

    I can only agree with Seletsky’s insights into the good, bad and ugly of Callas discs.

    One of the ugliest discs that Seletsky warns us about is the EMI 1992 Maria Callas Rarities album (7 54437). This was an incredible botch job by EMI. Avoid this one at all costs. Shred it if you find one. EMI said there were six unpublished arias by Callas on this disc, but delivered only four as they made a mistake on two of them. Instead of the stated 1960 version of Vespri (Arrigo!), they mistakenly substituted the previously released 1964 version. And, instead of the 1964 version of the Lombardi (Te vergine santa) they gave us the previously published 1969 version. When I first listened to the Vespri in this album back in 1992, I was baffled that Callas in 1960 sounded exactly like Callas in 1964. Well, that’s because it actually was Callas in 1964 and EMI had made a boo-boo. With this album, EMI really earned its nickname: “Every Mistake Imaginable.” It took EMI until 1997 to rectify the problem and release the correct versions of these two arias.

    Seletsky points out the inexplicable misdirection of Warner in severing the not fully finished (by Callas) cabaletta from the Corsaro (Vola talor) and placing the cabaletta as a stand alone in the 2014 Rarities album. Now, to hear the whole scene, you’ve got to go to two discs! EMI had issued everything together in its 1997 release. Warner would have been smarter to have moved the whole recitative and aria with the cabaletta attached (lock, stock and barrel) to the 2014 Rarities discs as Callas, of course, had never approved release of this item during her lifetime so it’s more appropriate in Rarities. The other unapproved Corsaro item could have gone to Rarities as well.

    On a good (or great) recording note, Seletsky suggests that Divina is working on a release of Callas’s June 20, 1950 Mexico City Trovatore. This is exciting news as the sound is likely to be a vast improvement over the currently available CD issues.

    Paul Wallace Houle
    Vancouver

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    Default Film of Callas on BBC, October 3, 1959

    For those who haven’t seen it already, some film excerpts of Callas singing Si, mi chiamano Mimi from La bohème appeared on YouTube on December 2, 2018. This would appear to be from the BBC television broadcast of October 3, 1959.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3armQmvnyDk

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  10. #4626
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace View Post
    ...Back in March 1974, when I was of a very tender age, I bought a copy of High Fidelity magazine which included David Hamilton’s piece “The Recordings of Maria Callas.” I literally dog-eared that article to death in collecting my first Callas recordings. Each time I got a new record, I would ink it off David Hamilton’s list. My copy of the magazine eventuhttps://www.talkclassical.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=1571770ally fell apart!...

    For example, after reading Seletsky 2019, my mouth is watering for the many Ars Vocalis releases. I wish somehow that Ars Vocalis could sell its albums continuously (maybe in conjunction with Divina Records?) instead of only occasionally as an extremely special event on eBay!
    Paul Wallace Houle
    Vancouver
    Thanks so much for the kudos. I also used the High Fidelity article to death--at not quite as tender an age as you, I suspect. I still have two copies of it, I think.

    AV doesn't only offer his masterings on eBay. Just e-mail him at the address I list near the beginning of the article: info.ars.vocalis@gmail.com (and remember to include the 'info.' in the address; otherwise he won't get the e-mail).

    Many thanks again. Glad to be of help.
    RES

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    Thank you for the great list RES, I have read it with much pleasure. Sadly I own very few of the recommended live opera pressings, but fortunately many of the studio versions and I agree with most of your judgements. I was only surprised that you didn't give a CD recommendation for Sonnambula - I like the CE version, cleaner than the 80s remastering and fuller than Warner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alanmichael1 View Post
    Thank you for the great list RES, I have read it with much pleasure. Sadly I own very few of the recommended live opera pressings, but fortunately many of the studio versions and I agree with most of your judgements. I was only surprised that you didn't give a CD recommendation for Sonnambula - I like the CE version, cleaner than the 80s remastering and fuller than Warner.
    Thank you. I agree that of the CD Sonnambula evils, CE (US!) is least offensive--for the same reasons you propose (though Warner delivers Amina sounding more like LPs but against an insane instrumental background which overwhelms her). I couldn't actually recommend any CD in good conscience because are all so far off the mark. They sound like a double-bass festival, especially in 'Ah! non giunge', as well as having a lot of low-frequency rumble throughout; the LPs are normal and do not have these problems. There is no way on earth that the tapes sounded like that, calling into question Warner's claim of remastering from analog tapes in this instance (as well as a number of others). And even in the unlikely event that the raw tapes have these issues, Callas and Legge's approved version for release, following several analog equalization steps, would never have sounded like that, as, indeed, no LPs do--any of them!
    Last edited by RES; Jan-17-2019 at 22:06.

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  16. #4629
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    Default Maria by Callas Blu-ray

    Now available at BestBuy.com for pre-order

    9FC916F4-D414-49F2-A87D-806BECBF8040.jpeg

    Release date: February 12th, 2019
    Last edited by MAS; Jan-17-2019 at 22:08. Reason: Additional information

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    RES, thank you very much for your updated review on Divina site. I've just read it and loved it.

    I'm just curious about one thing, regarding the studio recordings last remastering from warner in 2014, did you considered the japonese SACD editions from warner japan?

    Thanks again,

    Quim
    Last edited by quimss; Jan-20-2019 at 15:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quimss View Post
    RES, thank you very much for your updated review on Divina site. I've just read it and loved it.

    I'm just curious about one thing, regarding the studio recordings last remastering from warner in 2014, did you considered the japonese SACD editions from warner japan?

    Thanks again,

    Quim
    Quim, Thank you. I'm glad the new article was helpful. I have no means of playing SACD. If they are the same Abbey Road masterings as the normal Warner CDs (which are downconverted from 24/96 to 16/44.1), I have little doubt that the same reservations apply.

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    I found this on YouTube a while back and thought I might share this. In it a voice teacher listens and react to Callas singing Casta Diva. It was interesting how differently she reacted to Callas singing Casta Diva and Fischer-Dieskau singing Der Leiermann. She got really emotion with Fischer-Dieskau and really appreciated his performance. Well who wouldn't because it was pretty special. He was so amazing in lieder. With Callas however it seems to mee that she got too bogged down with the technical aspects and forgot all about what the aria was suposed to be about. I had some interesting thoughts about her comments througout and especially at the end. Watch and listen if I piqued your interest.

    Callas

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGvarj6aG6o

    Fischer-Dieskau

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaXV0agfXfQ
    "First I sing loud. When I start to run out of breath I sing softer" Giuseppe Di Stefano on his Faust high c diminuendo

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  22. #4633
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    Callas Blu-ray

    Wanted to ask if anyone has gotten this. I hardly think there’s anything new these folks can say about Callas, but the question is have they remastered the Tosca excerpt (Act II) which is included as a “bonus?”
    The Warner Blu-rays that come with the Callas Remastered box have not been upgraded, so if they’ve remastered the Covent Garden video on this Blu-ray, I’d have a reason to get it.

    4B14D284-67D1-438E-AAC1-8093E0AF3B8B.jpeg
    Last edited by MAS; Feb-22-2019 at 00:46. Reason: Correction/editing

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Callas Blu-ray

    Wanted to ask if anyone has gotten this. I hardly think there’s anything new these folks can say about Callas, but the question is have they remastered the Tosca excerpt (Act II) which is included as a “bonus?”
    The Warner Blu-rays that come with the Callas Remastered box have not been upgraded, so if they’ve remastered the Covent Garden video on this Blu-ray, I’d have a reason to get it.

    4B14D284-67D1-438E-AAC1-8093E0AF3B8B.jpeg
    I googled a bit and according to a review on Opera Today the act II hasn't been remastered. At least the reviewer couldn't see any difference between this and a dvd he already owned. Divina Records seems to have the 16 mm film from the performance. There is a short video on YouTube on their channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98O-D8r5fL0

    I'm hoping that they will release it some day.
    "First I sing loud. When I start to run out of breath I sing softer" Giuseppe Di Stefano on his Faust high c diminuendo

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    Thanks, Diminuendo. No use wasting my money on the Blu-ray then!

    I, too, wish Divina would release the hi-def DVD or Blu-ray.
    Last edited by MAS; Feb-22-2019 at 07:55.

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