View Poll Results: Pick your favorite Callas La Sonnambula recording.

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  • 1957 Studio Votto

    1 11.11%
  • 1957 Live Votto

    2 22.22%
  • 1955 Live Bernstein

    6 66.67%
  • 1957 Live Votto Edinburgh Festival

    0 0%
  • Other (explain)

    0 0%
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Thread: Favorite Callas La Sonnambula Recording

  1. #1
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Default Favorite Callas La Sonnambula Recording

    I hope I get this right. There are probably more commercial recordinga than these four, so I will leave an "other" category. Covers shown below are one of multiple releases for most recordings. I realize some releases have better sound than others for the same performance, but don't let that deter you from voting for your favorite performance. You can comment and tell us what is the better or best sound recording of it.

    The only one I don't have is the Edinburgh festival, but I just ordered it tonight (at least I think it is the right one as some of the listings have scanty information). I voted for the studio set because I am more or less a sucker for the better sound quality, though the 1957 Live (second choice) is quite good too.


    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    1) 1957 Orch. Teatro alla Scala Milano, Antonino Votto (cond.) Studio Recording
    Maria Callas (A), Nicola Monti (E), Nicola Zaccaria (R), Eugenia Ratti(L), Fiorenza Cossotto (T), Giuseppe Morresi (Al)


    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    2) 1957 Orch. Teatro alla Scala Milano, Antonino Votto (cond.)
    Maria Callas (A), Nicola Monti (E), Nicola Zaccaria (R), Marietta Angioletti (L), Fiorenza Cossotto (T), Dino Mantovani (Al)


    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    3) 1955 Orch. Teatro alla Scala Milano, Leonard Bernstein (cond.)
    Maria Callas (A), Cesare Valletti (E), Giuseppe Modesti (R), Eugenia Ratti (L) Gabriella Carturan (T), Pier Luigi Latinucci (Al)


    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    4) 1957 Orch. Teatro alla Scala Milano, Antonino Votto (cond.)
    Maria Callas (A), Nicola Monti (E), Nicola Zaccaria (R), Edith Martelli (L), Fiorenza Cossotto (T), Dino Mantovani (Al)


    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    5) Other
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Sep-25-2018 at 04:11.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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  3. #2
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    I voted for the Bernstein 1955 live recording. Callas' voice is the freshest here than in any other of her recordings and I feel this is important to match the age and personality of the heroine. She includes more coloratura variations than in the later recordings and whilst a couple of these don't work as well as her later choices, those that do are breathtaking. Bernstein takes a more lively approach than Votto and that's important in a work that can easily become prosaic. I also prefer Valetti (a much underrated light tenor) over Monti as he is more stylish and is one of the few singers who can also be termed a musician.

    I'm not keen on Eugenia Ratti's Lisa, however that is the only weakness when compared with the other Callas recordings. Bernstein opens a cut in act two (not involving Callas) that is nice to have, however my main reason for preferring this version is the depth of sadness that Callas brings to Ah, non credea which is unmatched when compared with all her later recordings and indeed with any other singer's too.

    N.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    ^^^^ All true Conte, the queen of La Scala holding royal court in devastating peak vocal form, Bernstein works "with" her to tee up the vocal high points, Maria is also feeling invincible that night with her added ornaments and vocal runs and the typical electrifying climaxes.......until Ars Vocalis (of EBay) becomes active again the latest live Warner CD remaster will do

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Sep-25-2018 at 18:44.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    So right about Valletti having the having artistic style and classic italian tenor delivery that seems to be a lost art now, many little touches and dramatic flourish as needed to bring his character to life in such a memorable way

    Conte the crowd did not have to wait long for for Maria to set the tone for an unforgettable evening at La Scala, her opening aria "Sovra il sen la man mi posa" done with consumate artistic flair and swagger, she was fearless in her dramatic delivery, listen to conclusion of cabaletta at 7:02 to climax

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Sep-26-2018 at 01:21.

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    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Okay. Now I have to listen to the 55 Bernstein set. I wonder if the Warner remastered set is much better than the one I have:
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    I voted (by a whisker) for Votto Cologne 1957, but, in all honesty, I find it hard to choose between it and Bernstein. Bernstein is a painting in oils, Votto more a pastel drawing, which is arguably more suited to its subject. Personally I need both, but I would also have to have the studio version, if only for the better studio sound.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    Okay. Now I have to listen to the 55 Bernstein set. I wonder if the Warner remastered set is much better than the one I have:

    Warner is the best remaster of this recording, there was some controversy over the sources used, but comparing the Warner with the Myto (that you have) and the EMI it was superior.

    N.

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  14. #8
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    I found a discussion of the versions of the Bernstein Callas Sonnambula on Amazon (my bold text):

    The sound is that of a 1950s live recording, however I compared this new remaster with the releases on EMI and Myto (the most recent set from 2007) and there isn't a great deal of difference between the three, although the Myto is clearer and brighter than the EMI. According to Warner's PR video with the sound engineer they used a Cetra Live LP and retuned it. I am not sure that this source adds any value, but the remastering process has produced a version with more clarity and warmth than the previous ones. This means that more detail can be heard even where some may have preferred to have negative sonorous qualities masked. The prime example of this is in 'Ah, non credea mirarti' where Callas' voice is marred by distortion. This is present in all sets, but it is more noticeable on the Myto and the Warner, whereas EMI's general haze and accentuation of the middle to lower range hides this defect. Myto beats EMI, but overall I prefer the Warner.
    So, it appears each release has it's positives and negatives, and my ear probably won't make much of the differences, so I may as well stick with my MYTO set.

    The commenter also notes (as was noted earlier in this thread) that,
    This also contains her most heart breaking version of 'Ah, non credea mirarti.'
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    My favourite is the Bernstein version in the sweet and pleasant EMI remastering - better than Warner and Myto.

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  17. #10
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    ... mis post ....
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Oct-02-2018 at 03:58.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

  18. #11
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    .... no post .....
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Oct-02-2018 at 03:58.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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  20. #12
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Bringing this poll back up for further input and because it shows the Bernstein Callas Sonnambula to be most preferred.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

  21. #13
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    9CAC6E31-05ED-4AA3-A118-7D1047014082.jpeg

    I prefer this one for the super-demented Callas performance, daring all and more for that mythical night in Köln/Cologne.
    The Bernstein follows closely in its heels.

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