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Thread: Did Maria Callas Ever Record the Verdi Requiem?

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Default Did Maria Callas Ever Record the Verdi Requiem?

    I was singing my way through the "Liber scriptus proferetur" the other day in the shower (it's in a perfect key for baritones, centering around D on the bottom to F sharp on the top, although there is a low B on the bottom and a single A flat on top) and mulling around the words. Then I started on the "Tremens factus sum ego" for the soprano and started wondering if La Callas ever recorded a Verdi Requiem. With her incredible verbal specificity that she invoked through her singing, that would be a recording I would much like to hear. A lot of sopranos don't vary their inflections when they sing some of the Latin phrases that are repeated in the piece; I can't imagine Callas doing such a thing, however.

    What say you? Do you know of any recordings, pirated or otherwise with Callas in the Verdi Requiem ?

    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    She never recorded it, and I'm not aware that she ever sang it at all. Greg Mitchell could no doubt provide more certainty.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    She never sang it, though she almost did on several occasions, but cicumstances always got in the way.

    I believe Legge wanted her to do the mezzo part on the Giulini recording, but she was not about to play seconda donna to Schwarzkopf.

    That said, though I'm sure she would have brought her customary musicality and sense of drama to the table, I'm not sure it would have suited her vocally even in her heyday. That leap to a ppp top B would have always been a problem for her.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Nov-17-2018 at 09:30.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Well, that's a shame. I'm sure many of us would have loved to hear it. Can't blame her for not wanting to sing second fiddle to Madame Blackhead. Being a stickler for accuracy ... and not to take away at all from your point, which I totally get and concur with ... It's actually a B-flat, but still really tough. I have never seen the autograph score, but my Schirmer edition score actually has it marked pppp. Eek! What is that, pianissississimo?

    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barelytenor View Post
    Well, that's a shame. I'm sure many of us would have loved to hear it. Can't blame her for not wanting to sing second fiddle to Madame Blackhead. Being a stickler for accuracy ... and not to take away at all from your point, which I totally get and concur with ... It's actually a B-flat, but still really tough. I have never seen the autograph score, but my Schirmer edition score actually has it marked pppp. Eek! What is that, pianissississimo?

    Kind regards,

    George
    It has to be said that Dame Elisabeth manages the Bb rather well in the Giulini recording. So does Scotto on the Muti, actually.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Schwarzkopf was among the few who ever made vocal tension work. I got to sing in the chorus of Dallas Opera many moons ago when Scotto sang Manon Lescaut (Puccini). Yes her pianissimos (and legato) were to die for.

    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barelytenor View Post
    Schwarzkopf was among the few who ever made vocal tension work. I got to sing in the chorus of Dallas Opera many moons ago when Scotto sang Manon Lescaut (Puccini). Yes her pianissimos (and legato) were to die for.

    Kind regards,

    George
    Scotto tends to be underrated these days, I feel, but she made some excellent recordings in the second summer of her career. The voice could turn squally at the top under pressure by then, but, as you say, both her pianissions and legato line were superb. So was her attention to the text, her diction and her dramatic commitment. In her hands, Suor Angelica, for instance, becomes a sort of mini psycho-drama, and much more interesting than the lushly sentimental piece it often is.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Nov-17-2018 at 16:10.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    No recording by Callas. We've got some pretty good ones though!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Scotto tends to be underrated these days, I feel, but she made some excellent recordings in the second summer of her career. The voice could turn squally at the top under pressure by then, but, as you say, both her pianissions and legato line were superb. So was her attention to the text, her diction and her dramatic commitment. In her hands, Suor Angelica, for instance, becomes a sort of mini psycho-drama, and much more interesting than the lushly sentimental piece it often is.
    I've long felt that as musician and interpreter Scotto was second only to Callas in the Italian repertoire. They could both produce some nasty high notes too!

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    Default Scotto Sings the Libera Me from the Verdi Requiem

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I've long felt that as musician and interpreter Scotto was second only to Callas in the Italian repertoire. They could both produce some nasty high notes too!
    Or is it Minnie Mouse? Anyway, the chorus is fabulous here.


    Kind regards,

    George

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    Tebaldi had the perfect voice for this work. The complete live recording for La Scala with de Sabata is one of the greatest performances ever. Such a pity she never made a commercial recording of the work:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59riVEHs1-0

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