Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So my 5-cd set arrived and I am very pleased with the sound quality. All are very good for 50s recordings, though La Traviata is a bit rough. This was a great deal for $7 shipped. I know I am missing the whole operas but this suits me fine for now. It seems like these are great years for performances of Callas at her best.



The only downside is that none of the booklets are in English. But that is a minor thing given the price and the great singing. It amazes me that everything I hear from Maria Callas is wonderful. It is rare to find an artist where you like everything they do. Now if only I could find a recording of Maria singing Abscheulicher from Fidelio.

Since the new year began, I have built up a Callas CD collection of 30 hours of music from having one Callas CD (1957 live Sonnambula). I could have simply bought a big Callas set, but it has been much fun chasing down CDs on Amazon and Ebay. I doubt I am finished though because I still don't have Aida.

So far my collection consists of these:

Sonnambula 1955
Sonnambula 1957
Sonnambula studio
Anna Bolena
100 Best (6-CD set)
Live in Paris
Unknown Recordings
Sings Beethoven Mozart and Weber
At Covent Garden
Live in Concert
Live in Atene
5 Heroines (5-CD opera highlights set)
The First Recordings (1949)
Dallas Rehearsal

Thanks to all of you who gently nudged me towards Maria Callas. :)
 

· Premium Member
Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner, Brahms, Schumann
Joined
·
14,662 Posts
Very nice set..................
 
  • Like
Reactions: SixFootScowl

· Registered
Joined
·
10,427 Posts
Florestan, the La Traviata you have there is live. It is a justifiably treasured memento of a great night in La Scala's history; a brand new production by none other than Luchino Visconti of one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. Like all ground breaking productions, it was controversial at the time. Visconti had updated the action to the fin de siecle for no other reason than he thought Callas would look fabulous in the gowns of that time. Strange to think that some objected to the naturalness of the acting. For instance, when she sang Ah fors' e lui she sat by the fire, unpinning her hair and then leaped up onto the table kicking of her shoes when she sang Sempre libera. Whatever the objections it was a major triumph for Callas, Visconti, Giulini and La Scala.





Violetta was the role Callas sang more often than any other apart from Norma, and it was also the one that underwent the greatest change. In my opinion, and that of many others, it finds its apogee in 1958 at Covent Garden, where she also has the benefit of an excellent Alfredo (Cesare Valetti) and a most sympathetic Germont (Mario Zanasi), Bastianini on the La Scala set has a magnificent voice, but sings everything at a monotonous forte. That Callas manages such a heart-rending performance of the second act duet with so little coming back from her partner is something of a miracle. The Covent Garden performance is also in pretty good sound (best on ICA Classics) and is certainly worth looking out.

Incidentally there is no recording of Callas singing any music from Fidelio, though you can hear her singing snatches of Komm Hoffnung in her Master Classes.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Since you don't have too many of the studio recordings, there won't be all that many duplications when you finally break down and buy the big Callas Remastered mega-box ;-)

So my 5-cd set arrived and I am very pleased with the sound quality. All are very good for 50s recordings, though La Traviata is a bit rough. This was a great deal for $7 shipped. I know I am missing the whole operas but this suits me fine for now. It seems like these are great years for performances of Callas at her best.



The only downside is that none of the booklets are in English. But that is a minor thing given the price and the great singing. It amazes me that everything I hear from Maria Callas is wonderful. It is rare to find an artist where you like everything they do. Now if only I could find a recording of Maria singing Abscheulicher from Fidelio.

Since the new year began, I have built up a Callas CD collection of 30 hours of music from having one Callas CD (1957 live Sonnambula). I could have simply bought a big Callas set, but it has been much fun chasing down CDs on Amazon and Ebay. I doubt I am finished though because I still don't have Aida.

So far my collection consists of these:

Sonnambula 1955
Sonnambula 1957
Sonnambula studio
Anna Bolena
100 Best (6-CD set)
Live in Paris
Unknown Recordings
Sings Beethoven Mozart and Weber
At Covent Garden
Live in Concert
Live in Atene
5 Heroines (5-CD opera highlights set)
The First Recordings (1949)
Dallas Rehearsal

Thanks to all of you who gently nudged me towards Maria Callas. :)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Since you don't have too many of the studio recordings, there won't be all that many duplications when you finally break down and buy the big Callas Remastered mega-box ;-)
Don't get me going. I have a bad habit of trying different search wordings on Amazon and then paging through as many listings as are presented. Sometimes you find a gem about 15 or 20 pages out. A box set is certainly not out of the question. Maybe my next search will be for all the different box sets of Maria Callas. Problem is, if I find a great deal I won't be able to resist.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That is a stunning photograph. What a beautiful dress. Interesting how the statue of cupid in the background appears to be firing his arrows off the top of Maria's head.
I'll have to keep the 1958 at Covent Garden performance in mind if I decide to get the complete opera.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,427 Posts
That is a stunning photograph. What a beautiful dress. Interesting how the statue of cupid in the background appears to be firing his arrows off the top of Maria's head.

I'll have to keep the 1958 at Covent Garden performance in mind if I decide to get the complete opera.
That dress was red by the way. At Covent Garden she was costumed in the more traditional crinolines.



 

· Banned
Joined
·
9,680 Posts
Florestan, the La Traviata you have there is live. It is a justifiably treasured memento of a great night in La Scala's history; a brand new production by none other than Luchino Visconti of one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. Like all ground breaking productions, it was controversial at the time. Visconti had updated the action to the fin de siecle for no other reason than he thought Callas would look fabulous in the gowns of that time. Strange to think that some objected to the naturalness of the acting. For instance, when she sang Ah fors' e lui she sat by the fire, unpinning her hair and then leaped up onto the table kicking of her shoes when she sang Sempre libera. Whatever the objections it was a major triumph for Callas, Visconti, Giulini and La Scala.





Violetta was the role Callas sang more often than any other apart from Norma, and it was also the one that underwent the greatest change. In my opinion, and that of many others, it finds its apogee in 1958 at Covent Garden, where she also has the benefit of an excellent Alfredo (Cesare Valetti) and a most sympathetic Germont (Mario Zanasi), Bastianini on the La Scala set has a magnificent voice, but sings everything at a monotonous forte. That Callas manages such a heart-rending performance of the second act duet with so little coming back from her partner is something of a miracle. The Covent Garden performance is also in pretty good sound (best on ICA Classics) and is certainly worth looking out.

Incidentally there is no recording of Callas singing any music from Fidelio, though you can hear her singing snatches of Komm Hoffnung in her Master Classes.
Funny you say that. When I hear the second and third acts of the '58 Covent Garden Traviata, everyone just seems to fall off into the periphery and a penumbra of light falls over Callas to the near total exclusion of everything else.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How about that Tosca? Besides that I have the Paris 1958 Tosca Act II, and the video of the 1964 Tosca Act II.

I must say that watching Tosca knife Scarpia is a very satisfying when considered in the context all the sexual predators in the world.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,427 Posts
Funny you say that. When I hear the second and third acts of the '58 Covent Garden Traviata, everyone just seems to fall off into the periphery and a penumbra of light falls over Callas to the near total exclusion of everything else.
Which, in a sense, is how it should be, but in Covent Garden she is immeasurably helped by Valetti and Zanasi. She is able to give that totally complete performance because of the sympathetic performances of her colleagues. At La Scala she is hindered, rather than helped, by Bastianini.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
"That" Tosca is, by comment consent, the greatest recording of Tosca ever made, even praised by those who don't normally like Callas. Stunning conducting, excellent cast and brilliantly produced for all that it is mono.
Excellent, excellent, excellent! I am even more glad I picked up this set! I probably will not be satisfied in the end until I have the complete opera, now that Maria's voice had drawn me into it and an understanding of the plot makes me realize that it is a very worthy opera.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
9,680 Posts
Excellent, excellent, excellent! I am even more glad I picked up this set! I probably will not be satisfied in the end until I have the complete opera, now that Maria's voice had drawn me into it and an understanding of the plot makes me realize that it is a very worthy opera.
I'll cut to the chase for you, Florestan ;D- Enthused as you are about Callas, you won't be satisfied until you have everything by her; and then you still won't be satisfied because even everything by Callas still isn't enough.

But to make things easy?- shamelessly indulge the Warner box set- and then go from there. The refurbished sound is wonderful and you get a cute wine-colored box to put on your bookshelf as well; and a nifty little book to go with it.

All of the libretti to all of the operas in the box are on one cd as well.

 

· Banned
Joined
·
9,680 Posts
Exactly what I was thinking. Florestan WILL buy the Callas Remastered box, as many of us Callas nuts have done. It's simply necessary.
'Sine qua nons' not 'accessories'- yes, just that. ;D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tsaraslondon

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I can't say I wasn't warned. Right at the beginning I was told to simply get the big box set. I won't be buying it now, as nice as it would be to have, but will keep an eye out for eventual (hopefully) better pricing on used sets. Meanwhile, I thought I would share this You Tube Hamburg concert that I am listening at the moment--Magnificent is not a grand enough word to describe it.

Watch the wonderful emotional expressions starting about 44 minutes in and going on for about 4 minutes before she starts to sing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=krvfJjZ8wyc#t=2534
She's got to have psyched herself into the role so perfectly that she is really feeling the emotions. Nobody can fake that.

That Hamburg concert is so wonderful, I want to buy a DVD of it. Is it available?
 

· Premium Member
Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner, Brahms, Schumann
Joined
·
14,662 Posts
I can't say I wasn't warned. Right at the beginning I was told to simply get the big box set. I won't be buying it now, as nice as it would be to have, but will keep an eye out for eventual (hopefully) better pricing on used sets. Meanwhile, I thought I would share this You Tube Hamburg concert that I am listening at the moment--Magnificent is not a grand enough word to describe it.

Watch the wonderful emotional expressions starting about 44 minutes in and going on for about 4 minutes before she starts to sing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=krvfJjZ8wyc#t=2534
She's got to have psyched herself into the role so perfectly that she is really feeling the emotions. Nobody can fake that.
And that still doesn't include the live recordings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SixFootScowl

· Registered
Joined
·
20,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
And that still doesn't include the live recordings.
Yes. I think the older big box (which was rather spartan in the interior packaging and documentation) was about the same amount of discs as the new set, but there also is an older big box of live performances if I recall correctly.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,427 Posts
I can't say I wasn't warned. Right at the beginning I was told to simply get the big box set. I won't be buying it now, as nice as it would be to have, but will keep an eye out for eventual (hopefully) better pricing on used sets. Meanwhile, I thought I would share this You Tube Hamburg concert that I am listening at the moment--Magnificent is not a grand enough word to describe it.

Watch the wonderful emotional expressions starting about 44 minutes in and going on for about 4 minutes before she starts to sing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=krvfJjZ8wyc#t=2534
She's got to have psyched herself into the role so perfectly that she is really feeling the emotions. Nobody can fake that.

That Hamburg concert is so wonderful, I want to buy a DVD of it. Is it available?
Well it was. You might be able to find a copy somewhere.

 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top