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Conducting in Opera Recordings

1903 Views 66 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  MAS
I imagine most opera lovers have favorite recordings of their favorite operas determined in large part by the singers. How big a role does the conducting play for you? Are there recordings that are at least partly spoiled for you by the conducting despite an excellent cast? Conversely are there recordings that are elevated for you by exceptional conducting?
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She didn't much like the role or the opera, and, apart from the unadverturous Met, didn't sing it at all between 1953 (the year of the De Sabata recording) and 1964.
Based on Frank Hamilton's compilation of Callas' performance annals, apart from the Met performances in 1956 and 1958, she sang three nights of Tosca at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genova in March 1954 and remember, there is that televised and filmed Act 2 with Tito Gobbi and Albert Lance in her Paris debut on 19 Dec 1958.

Fact checking aside, I agree that De Sabata's conducting plays a hugely important role in the 1953 EMI/UK Columbia Tosca attaining classic status and later critics' appraisal of it mostly attributes the success of the recording to the close-knit teamwork and chemistry among the conductor and the principal singers rather than just focusing on Callas alone.
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