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Thread: Divina Records: Maria Callas' Live Performances in Best Possible Sound!

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    Default Divina Records: Maria Callas' Live Performances in Best Possible Sound!

    This thread is created especiially for news and discussions on releases from Divina Records, a private, independent venture by Pablo Berruti aiming at preserving the recorded live performances of Maria Callas in the best possible sound. (Thank you to Dimmy <with kisses> by the way for alerting us with the latest Divina news! ;DDD )

    The URL of the official Divina Records website: http://www.divinarecords.com/

    Here is how the website looks as at today, 16 May:


    From what I have gathered so far from the website, here are the things to note:

    (1) Forthcoming release: Il Pirata at Carnegie Hall, New York, 27 January 1959
    Certain to be available in download format (MP3 & FLAC, Apple Loseless forthcoming). Not sure whether physical CD will be made available. Accompanying materials to each release will be made available upon purchase in PDF.

    (2) Forthcoming re-release:
    - The Last Norma I (14 & 21 May 1965, Paris)
    - La Sonnambula (21 August 1957, Edinburgh)
    - Ifigenia in Tauride (1 June 1957, La Scala Milan)

    All to be available in download format (MP3 & FLAC, Apple Loseless forthcoming) format. Not sure whether physical CDs will be made available. Accompanying materials to each release will be made available upon purchase in PDF.

    (3) Other live performances previously advertised on the old website will be made available in download format (MP3 & FLAC, Apple Loseless forthcoming). Not sure whether physical CDs will be made available. Accompanying materials to each release will be made available upon purchase in PDF.

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    Senior Member gardibolt's Avatar
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    Excellent news, plummie! Wasn't Macbeth supposed to be coming soonest? Still, I'll take what I can get from Pablo.
    Hours of unrecorded, unpublished and unknown Beethoven works at The Unheard Beethoven

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    It's certainly good news that there is activity on the site again, but I hope he considers issuing CDs again. Quite aside from the fact that I prefer physical CDs, I loved the enhanced CDs for the accompanying notes and photos.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    I used to prefer physical CDs, but in recent years I find myself often on the move for job reasons and it's well nigh impossible to bring all my favourite CDs along. So I have come to feel that FLAC or Apple Loseless download is increasingly the best option for me. Moreover, the accompanying materials are all in the format of digital booklets now and that makes things easy as well.

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    A very important technical advice for those intending to buy MP3 or FLAC download:

    Use Google Chrome to open the Divina Records website and go about your shopping, payment and downloading. If you use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firebox, chances are that the download process could hang and freeze at the last second and fail to complete.

    As the file is a zip file, please also get Win RAR for your PC for the purpose of unzipping the file.
    Last edited by Green pasture; May-17-2016 at 03:07.

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    This has escaped my attention earlier. It will surely delight all interested in Divina Records:

    The accompanying materials (including notes, photos, libretto, original playbill, newspaper and journal reviews, etc.) to Unknown Teatro Colon recordings, Armida, 1953 Trieste Norma are made free and available for download directly from Divina Records' website. Just go to the site for each individual release and follow the relevant links.

    Accompanying materials for Ifigenia in Tauride and the Last Normas II will become available in due course for free download.

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    Senior Member Tietjens Stolz's Avatar
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    Great news Plummie! Finally our wait is almost over.

    I'm not sure though whether I will get the Il Pirata and Last Normas I. Think I will probably wait for the Macbeth and see which of the Mexico City performances Pablo will release first.

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    Here is an extremely important update that everyone interested in Divina Records would like to know:

    I enquired about whether physical CDs (or CD-R) will be produced apart from MP3/FLAC/Apple Loseless downloads. This is the reply I received from Pablo not long ago:

    "As a collector I prefer physical CDs, but it is very difficult to produce discs now.

    Producing only downloads I will have more time to speed up the release process.

    I can re-send a given performance if I found a better source, per example.

    And each customer can burn the files on CD anyway.

    Downloads have more pros than cons."


    In other words, Pablo will no longer produce any physical CDs (or CD-R) for all upcoming and future releases as well as titles currently available in his catalogue. All titles henceforth will be available only in download format. Accompanying materials will either be included in the download file, or made available on Divina Records' website for free download.
    Last edited by Green pasture; May-17-2016 at 05:46.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    So, given that Pablo will not be producing actual CDs, can anyone tell me if I will get good enough sound from the Mp3 downloads, which I can transfer to physical CDs? Or do I need to get FLAC files? If I do, do I need a special programme to donwload and transfer them to CDs?
    Sorry, I'm a bit old-fashioned and, though I do get downloads for pop albums occasionally, am still somewhat wed to CDs when it comes to classical music.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    So, given that Pablo will not be producing actual CDs, can anyone tell me if I will get good enough sound from the Mp3 downloads, which I can transfer to physical CDs? Or do I need to get FLAC files? If I do, do I need a special programme to donwload and transfer them to CDs?
    Sorry, I'm a bit old-fashioned and, though I do get downloads for pop albums occasionally, am still somewhat wed to CDs when it comes to classical music.
    This technical note supplied by Divina Records would be good enough to convince you that FLAC (loseless compression) is better than MP3 (lossy compression) in sound quality (and equivalent to CD), though you must ensure that you have enough space in your PC to store FLAC files, as FLAC files are larger in size and occupy more space. If not, you need to get an external disk drive to store your FLAC files. Go to: http://www.divinarecords.com/downloads.html

    In newer versions of Windows, Windows Media Player (WMP) is able to playback FLAC files. However if you are using older versions of Windows, you will have to download Codec to get WMP to play FLAC files: https://xiph.org/flac/

    For burning FLAC to CD-R, check out the technical notes and list of suggested programmes to download, provided by Pristine website (Note: You cannot use 24-bit FLACs for audio CDs; only 16-bit FLACs will do):
    https://www.pristineclassical.com/flac-winflacburn
    Last edited by Green pasture; May-17-2016 at 15:11.

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    Senior Member gardibolt's Avatar
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    Yes, FLAC does take quite a bit more space than mp3s. I can no longer hear the difference so I generally opt for mp3s to save money and disc space, but YMMV depending on your age and hearing acuity. That's especially the case with stuff like the live Callas materials that are often in a fairly dire state in the first place.
    Hours of unrecorded, unpublished and unknown Beethoven works at The Unheard Beethoven

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    So, given that Pablo will not be producing actual CDs, can anyone tell me if I will get good enough sound from the Mp3 downloads, which I can transfer to physical CDs? Or do I need to get FLAC files? If I do, do I need a special programme to donwload and transfer them to CDs?
    Sorry, I'm a bit old-fashioned and, though I do get downloads for pop albums occasionally, am still somewhat wed to CDs when it comes to classical music.
    Whilst it's great that Divina is active again, I too would rather have CDs. I guess I am going to have to give it a go getting Flac files and burning them myself.

    If only somebody could raise the money needed to get a Warner Classics release using Pablo's sources.

    N.

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    The Last Normas I (1965, Paris) and La Sonnambula (Edinburgh, 21 August 1957) are now available for downloading. The accompanying materials will be made available later for free download from Divina Records' website. As shown by the materials for Ifigenia in Tauride made available for download so far, the accompanying materials will be watermarked with Divina Records' logo on each page of the digital booklet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    So, given that Pablo will not be producing actual CDs, can anyone tell me if I will get good enough sound from the Mp3 downloads, which I can transfer to physical CDs? Or do I need to get FLAC files? If I do, do I need a special programme to donwload and transfer them to CDs?
    Sorry, I'm a bit old-fashioned and, though I do get downloads for pop albums occasionally, am still somewhat wed to CDs when it comes to classical music.
    Have you consider playing downloaded music files from a hard drive vs. burning CDs?

    Here’s a post that I did about a year and a half ago that might be useful: Relatively easy way to get into high-res FLAC downloads, SACDs, and Blu-ray audio

    Regarding sound quality of MP3 vs. FLAC, the limiting factor for historic recordings is the quality of the original recording. I just checked, and found that I have a FLAC download of DVN-17: Norma, La Scala, Dec 7 1955. I can play it conveniently via my Oppo universal player, without having to retrieve and load a CD. At the risk of riling Callas fans, the sound quality of this recording is very poor, and I seriously doubt that storing it as MP3 vs. FLAC would result in an audible difference. Nonetheless I always download in FLAC format. (State-of-the-art modern recordings delivered as 24bit/96kHz FLAC can sound excellent.)

    Hope this helps.

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    Senior Member Green pasture's Avatar
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    For those who prefer CDs to downloading audio files, here is a good news: at the request of one customer, Pablo is now considering the possibility of launching a fulfilment CD service. He is expected to make an announcement hopefully sometime next week.

    (See: http://www.divinarecords.com/dvn011/dvn011.html)
    Last edited by Green pasture; Jun-03-2016 at 21:16.

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