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Thread: I feel bad because I don't love Callas more

  1. #31
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I choose the 57 live Anna Bolena because as good as the studio opera and studio recitals are Maria could push herself to more daring colortura live with a supportive crowd and secure voice Callas would go where eagles dare. The live "al dolce guidami" youtube more sublimely heartbreaking and the searing sustained high notes with scale runs before and after surpass the famous studio complete "Mad Scences" version (itself nearly untouchable)




    BTW for me it is not a "zero sum game" I don't like Tebaldi, Price, Sutherland, Moffo etc any less than before......its just that my Callas love seems endless the more I listen to her prime performances
    On your recommendation I listed to the 57 live Bolena. She sounded like 52!!!!!!!!!!! Even the Eb was great. Incredible character developent and musicianship! Thanks. I thought her voice was toast by then.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    On your recommendation I listened to the 57 live Bolena. She sounded like 52!!!!!!!!!!! Even the Eb was great. Incredible character developent and musicianship! Thanks. I thought her voice was toast by then.
    Maria rode the wings of the opera gods that night........

    Almost every live performance from 55 season of La Scala is fabulous, worthy of adoration!

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  5. #33
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    On your recommendation I listed to the 57 live Bolena. She sounded like 52!!!!!!!!!!! Even the Eb was great. Incredible character developent and musicianship! Thanks. I thought her voice was toast by then.
    Opening aria sequence 55 Lucia, Maria just crushes it here, listen to that vocal technique she is absolutely fearless, weight loss not effecting anything here (perhaps a bit less bloom but this is live recording remember) .....great BJR vinyl sample from callasfan

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-17-2019 at 21:46.

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  7. #34
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Opening aria sequence 55 Lucia, Maria just crushes it here, listen to that vocal technique she is absolutely fearless, weight loss not effecting anything here (perhaps a bit less bloom but this is live recording remember) .....great BJR vinyl sample from callasfan

    "Never believe any soprano who says they don't listen to Callas. The first thing every soprano does when she wakes up is to pour herself a glass of orange juice, put on a Callas record, and try to figure out how she did it." (Katia Ricciarelli)

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  9. #35
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insights. I am full of Callas now and will revisit her in summer most likely. Then I can hear her with fresh ears and ears that haven't grown tired of the way she sounds. IT is a failing of mine.

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    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Listen more to her chest voice. That's been my favorite part of her voice from the get go, and it stays strong with age.

  11. #37
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    Listen more to her chest voice. That's been my favorite part of her voice from the get go, and it stays strong with age.
    Totally... and it is all there in her speaking voice!!!!!!!!!!! It is my favorite also. Her Suicidio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like the faster vibrato which winds way down up high.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Apr-18-2019 at 15:39.

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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Why not just like them all? Of course, we have our favourites according to our taste but I can take in Callas, Sutherland and all the rest of the show. Great! Pick the ones that do the most for you. Then just sit back and enjoy without feeling guilty.
    Exactly this. I have nearly every recording Callas ever made. I lover her. To me, I like uniqueness over run-of-the-mill. To me, that is the greatest thing about Callas - that distinctive voice. You just know it's her immediately. With other sopranos, if I don't know a recording well enough, it's hard to distinguish who is who. That being said, I listen to Callas in small doses, as her repertoire I don't care for much (save Verdi, Il Barbiere and her recital discs). I much prefer to listen to the Baroque and Classical periods, as the romantics and post-moderns tend to bore me.

  14. #39
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    Seattleoperafan:
    You shouldn't have to apologize for not "getting" the Callas that others who feel differently about her do. I completely understand your feelings.

    For me it was an acquiring experience. I finally discovered that I was focusing only on a voice that didn't thrill me. It took a while for me to realize that there was something more than just her voice. She had a way of expressing the same words as others did but with such exquisite depth and feeling that it grabbed me in a way that no others could.

    Her musicianship was impeccable and her devotion to getting things right no matter how long it took proved to me her dedication to the art.

    I was also mesmerized by the girlish charm of her off-stage personality which I found to be unique and down-to-earth, if not, at times, mean-spirited and nasty.

    She was the complete package.
    Last edited by nina foresti; Apr-20-2019 at 03:13.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    One of the singers Callas sang with, or more likely one of the conductors she worked with, said he “couldn’t separate the voice from what she expressed with it.” That’s is what she is to me: the total expression of the music she sings. I may not like the sound she makes, this or that sour note, the sometimes ”fearfully uncontrolled” high notes (can’t remember which critic said that - Philip Hope-Wallace?); however, whatever she sings remains in my memory as the ideal way to express it.
    “Majestic justness” as another critic (Musical America) put it (in Norma, I believe). No one can touch her. No one has matched or surpassed her interpretations. Prettier voices or perfect voices can’t be as expressive or even approximate Callas’s expression. Cuts don’t matter if the “extra” music is not well expressed, or even as well sung as Callas sings.

    Callas rules!

    E15DE963-652D-4871-909D-58A58B18F820.jpeg
    Last edited by MAS; Apr-20-2019 at 05:40.

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  18. #41
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I think with Callas it is vital to catch the voice at its best which, alas, was not very long. I am just listening to the 1955 Lucia with Karajan against the 1959 one with Serafin and the deterioration of the voice is noticeable even in those few years. The Karajan Lucia is one of the very greatest recordings of this artist even if the sound is duff.

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  20. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I think with Callas it is vital to catch the voice at its best which, alas, was not very long. I am just listening to the 1955 Lucia with Karajan against the 1959 one with Serafin and the deterioration of the voice is noticeable even in those few years. The Karajan Lucia is one of the very greatest recordings of this artist even if the sound is duff.
    Vocal decline is a process for most singers (some seem to lose their vocal prowess overnight, but even then the signs were usually there beforehand). Callas was in superlative voice up to and including 1953 with the first slight imperfection in technique being displayed in the studio recording of I Puritani during the act one finale where there is strain in a high passage. Then the first (slight) wobble appears in the 1954 Puccini arias disc. The deterioration was slow and gradual after that and the point at which the lack of technique makes Callas unlistenable will depend on each individual's tolerance level, understanding of Callas' art and responsiveness to performances of unparalleled emotional depth.

    Occasionally in later recordings (such as the Anna Bolena discussed above and the Carmen - that sits lower) Callas was able to put aside her technical issues and sang with a wonderful freedom in addition to her everpresent interpretative insights coupled with a strong identification with the role she happened to be singing.

    Voices almost always lose their freshness (listen to Sutherland, Gheorghiou and De los Angeles - just to mention a few sopranos), that is when you really discover the artist beyond the voice. De los Angeles could still sparkle in song recitals despite her voice being a shadow of its former self. Sutherland's second studio Norma is possibly her most dramatically convincing performance and Gheorghiou's Violetta could still make you go through a box of cleanex in act two despite the stiff coloratura in her sempre libera the last time she sang La Traviata at the ROH. That's why we listen to Callas' recordings up to those last haunting sketches of Verdi arias in 69 when she was well past her best, because Callas was much more than a voice. Even when the voice was gone, she, the artist, the interpreter, the muse and the soul was still there.

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; Apr-27-2019 at 11:14.

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  22. #43
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    ...why we listen to Callas' recordings up to those last haunting sketches of Verdi arias in 69 when she was well past her best, because Callas was much more than a voice. Even when the voice was gone, she, the artist, the interpreter, the muse and the soul was still there.

    N.
    I find my wobble tolerance tends to vary from one listen to another. Sometimes I can't bear to listen at all, as all I can hear is the strain she is under. At others I barely notice it, so completely am I involved in the artistry and her unerring ability to get to the emotional core of what she is singing. Why this should be I have no idea.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-27-2019 at 11:24.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  24. #44
    Senior Member Diminuendo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    I find my wobble tolerance tends to vary from one listen to another. Sometimes I can't bear to listen at all, as all I can hear is the strain she is under. At others I barely notice it, so completely am I involved in the artistry and her unerring ability to get to the emotional core of what she is singing. Why this should be I have no idea.
    I seem to have the same experience. Like you sometimes I listen and marvel at the artistry and then the next time I have to stop listening pretty much immediately. Callas for me makes me the saddest of all singers who had vocal issues and when I listen to her later recordings I feel sad for her. You can sense that she tries her best and she simply can't do it. In many points she sounds so good that you forget and then comes the high note and it breaks your heart again. I can't even what it must have been like her for she was so self-critical and could so clearly after listening to a take hear what should be done differently on the next take. What it must have been like to not have been able to do it anymore and have to admit this is the best she could do. Then there are points when the old magic is back, like the famous Ritorna vincitor for instance.
    "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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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminuendo View Post
    Then there are points when the old magic is back, like the famous Ritorna vincitor for instance.
    Which probably demonstrates that the problems were as much psychological as physical. As you no doubt know, that recording of Ritorna vincitor had not been planned. She, Rescigno and the recording team were taking a break during sessions for the Verdi arias whe was recording in 1964, when Michel Glotz played a recording, made the previous day, of Crespin singing the aria. Callas was insensed at a performance so antithetical to her musical sensibilities. "This isn't Verdi or Aida," she exclaimed. "I remember when I prepared this with Maestro Serafin he wanted such agitation that I could hardly get the words in: this is like a funeral march." Having ascertained that the parts were still there, she turned to Rescigno and said, "Come on, Nicola, let's sing it." And they went out and did it there and then - in one take. The challenge had fired her up and the result is not only a fantastically dramatic performance, but one in which most of her former vocal security has returned.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-27-2019 at 14:55.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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