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Thread: Much Better Earlier Video of Callas"s Live Tosca

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Default Much Better Earlier Video of Callas"s Live Tosca

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=282lkZI4yXU
    I've never seen this before. Much better video quality and since it is from 56, Callas is in better voice. I never knew this existed.

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    Its cut to ribbons though. The camera work isn't great and the studio was, according to both Callas and London, extremely cramped. Nor do you get the sense of the mighty power play that existed between Callas and Gobbi. My favourite remains the Covent Garden performance of 1964 for all that Callas is in less secure voice. It was recorded on stage at Covent Garden during a run of performances of a brand new production, mounted specially for her, that had been meticulously rehearsed and it shows.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Its cut to ribbons though. The camera work isn't great and the studio was, according to both Callas and London, extremely cramped. Nor do you get the sense of the mighty power play that existed between Callas and Gobbi. My favourite remains the Covent Garden performance of 1964 for all that Callas is in less secure voice. It was recorded on stage at Covent Garden during a run of performances of a brand new production, mounted specially for her, that had been meticulously rehearsed and it shows.
    The singing is much better, she"s prettier, but she does seem constrained in her movements and there isn't as much electricity with Scarpia as later. Good critique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=282lkZI4yXU
    I've never seen this before. Much better video quality and since it is from 56, Callas is in better voice. I never knew this existed.
    Wonderful video. Thanks for posting. This will be a treasure for any Callas fan as well as any Tosca fan.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    It is a shame that Callas didn't have much opportunity to work with the great Mitropoulos, another Greek giant. I am really fond of Mitropoulos' conducting style in opera (of course he was a big name in symphony conducting). His performances with Eleanor Steber (Les nuit d'ete, Vanessa, and a live La Fanciulla del West) are among my favorite. In live performance, he could also bring out the dramatic best in the singers who were not quite famous for being expressive, like Tebaldi and Milanov. The 1953 La forza del destino with Tebaldi conducted by him was probably the best live performance of the opera ever.

    Now imagine Callas and Mitropoulos in more Verdi and Puccini, or Medea!
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    When I first saw this I had also seen both the stupendous Covent Garden film and the one made at a Paris Opera gala in 1958. In case you haven't seen that one, here's what's on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1PnVd1YXvc The set is hideous, the pouffy empire gown isn't the lady's best look, and something awful has happened to Gobbi's nose.

    I can't help thinking what a cheat it is to have to watch Puccini's shabby little shocker every time Callas is seen actually performing a role. She didn't even like the part! But of course she's always great to watch. I found especially interesting her various ways of declaiming the line "E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma." which in Paris is given a note of ironic incredulity. The words are actually set to a repeated note by Puccini, but I've never heard them sung as written.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Nov-06-2018 at 07:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    When I first saw this I had also seen both the stupendous Covent Garden film and the one made at a Paris Opera gala in 1958. In case you haven't seen that one, here's what's on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1PnVd1YXvc The set is hideous, the pouffy empire gown isn't the lady's best look, and something awful has happened to Gobbi's nose.
    I always cut straight to the stabbing for some reason. In this case it looks like she left the knife in his chest because he pulls it out and then appears as if he is going to go after her with it before he doubles back and collapses.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Nov-06-2018 at 07:12.
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    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I always cut straight to the stabbing for some reason. In this case it looks like she left the knife in his chest because he pulls it out and then appears as if he is going to go after her with it before he doubles back and collapses.
    Either you're inclined to get right to the point, or you're simply bloodthirsty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    When I first saw this I had also seen both the stupendous Covent Garden film and the one made at a Paris Opera gala in 1958. In case you haven't seen that one, here's what's on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1PnVd1YXvc The set is hideous, the pouffy empire gown isn't the lady's best look, and something awful has happened to Gobbi's nose.

    I can't help thinking what a cheat it is to have to watch Puccini's shabby little shocker every time Callas is seen actually performing a role. She didn't even like the part! But of course she's always great to watch. I found especially interesting her various ways of declaiming the line "E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma." which in Paris is given a note of ironic incredulity. The words are actually set to a repeated note by Puccini, but I've never heard them sung as written.
    Callas sings them in the De Sabata recording, though she adds an appoogiatura on the word tutta.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Callas sings them in the De Sabata recording, though she adds an appoogiatura on the word tutta.
    Haha. It just shows how long it's been since I've listened to that recording (or any other recording of Tosca). Funnily enough I remember that little emphasis on "tutta" after - what, four decades? Perish the thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    It is a shame that Callas didn't have much opportunity to work with the great Mitropoulos, another Greek giant. I am really fond of Mitropoulos' conducting style in opera (of course he was a big name in symphony conducting). His performances with Eleanor Steber (Les nuit d'ete, Vanessa, and a live La Fanciulla del West) are among my favorite. In live performance, he could also bring out the dramatic best in the singers who were not quite famous for being expressive, like Tebaldi and Milanov. The 1953 La forza del destino with Tebaldi conducted by him was probably the best live performance of the opera ever.

    Now imagine Callas and Mitropoulos in more Verdi and Puccini, or Medea!
    Checking Callas' performance list at frankhamilton.org, I think Callas only performed Tosca with Mitropoulos four times (at the Met) and just three of these were with George London so the TV recording captures a pretty rare combination!

    As so often is the case, Frank Hamilton's site was a great source of background info. Regarding Callas' collaboration with Mitropoulos it says next to an entry in 1958:
    Callas was to spend much of the following season in the United States. On October 7th with Meneghini she
    arrived in New York and next day lunched with Bing to discuss her third Met season to begin the following
    January. She would sing Tosca, Violetta and Lady Macbeth opposite Warren in a new production by Carl Ebert
    under Mitropoulos... Three days later she was to start her first American concert tour under the aegis of Sol
    Hurok...
    Unfortunately we know this was not to pass thanks to Bing firing Callas after disagreements about repertory etc

    As a tangent, I notice that Mitropoulos worked on Tosca, Wozzeck and Fanciulla del West with Gobbi, as well as Tosca, Forza del Destino, Un Ballo in Maschera with di Stefano. I think the only one which is taped is Forza in Vienna and it is superb!

    There are some recordings which I REALLY wish were on tape. These include the 1955 Chicago Trovatore with Callas, Bjorling, Stignani and Bastianini conducted by Rescigno, and the 1958 Scala Pirata with Callas, Corelli and Bastianini conducted by Votto. Reading the performance annals, I also really wish there was a tape of that Ballo in Vienna with di Stefano and Mitropoulos! The cast there was di Stefano, Bastianini, Nilsson, Simionato and Koth

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