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This is presumably the audio only relics of those concerts in London 1958 - 1959 (see post #5259) The audibility is compromised in certain sections, but clear in other spots. I will look up the performance annals and edit this post with any results of what Callas sang when.


According to Frank Hamilton's performance annals, Callas appeared in Chelsea At Eight twice in 1958 in short television broadcasts as follows:

June 17th 1958 in which she sang
Vissi d'arte from Puccini's Tosca.
Una voce poco fa from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Sir John Pritchard conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

September 23rd 1958 in which she sang
Casta Diva from Bellini's Norma.
Un bel di vedremmo from Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
Sir John Pritchard conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

On October 3rd 1959 Callas sang in a gala TV broadcast (for ITN) which also included Tito Gobbi, Jose Iturbi, and Alicia Markova. Callas sang
Si mi chiamano Mimi from Puccini's La Bohème.
L'altra notte in fondo al mare from Boito's Mefistofele.
Sir Malcom Sargent conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The video does not follow the above order.

I checked my collection to see whether these selections have appeared on audio CD but couldn't quickly ascertained that they have.
All of these were released by EMI on Disc 4 of the Live Recitals box set.

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They were previously released on a pair of Gala CDs and AV has released them unfiltered. I have the EMI box set and have never sought out better versions (AV is likely to have the best sound) as this material isn't of the greatest info to me.

N.
 

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All of these were released by EMI on Disc 4 of the Live Recitals box set.

View attachment 162696

They were previously released on a pair of Gala CDs and AV has released them unfiltered. I have the EMI box set and have never sought out better versions (AV is likely to have the best sound) as this material isn't of the greatest info to me.

N.
Thanks for that information, Conte. I never acquired the EMI Live Recitals, not having checked its contents. As it stands none of the performances on the video are of any note, but I will have to investigate nevertheless.

Ah yes! . All of the selections appear on a Gala disc GL 321 (Paris 1963 And The Rarest Material). Sheesh! I thought they were new.

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The Boheme and Mefistofele also appear on GL 316.

Well! I was excited for a little while!

P.S. I listened to the CD. The sound is a little muffled, which makes for better listening, as the climaxes are not as painful.
 

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Latest release from Pristine Classical, its first in 2022:



As MAS has opined, Rose's 'stereoization' method tends to work better for those who have state-of-the-art playback and listening equipment.

This is also one of the fewer times Pristine's cover designer managed to get the wardrobe right.
 

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More Maria Callas film from the Paris Opera?

Maria Callas appeared in eight performances of Norma at the Paris Opera in May and June 1964. Part of the dress rehearsal for this Norma production was filmed by French television. Many of us are familiar with the exciting, but brief film of Callas singing the recitative to the aria "Casta Diva" from the rehearsal. While musician union rules may have permitted the broadcast of no more than three minutes of film, it seems that more may have actually been filmed that was not broadcast.

Please see the link below to the 10 minute French television documentary about the 1964 Callas Paris Normas. This was broadcast on May 21, 1964 according to the French National Audiovisual Institute (L'Institut National de L'Audiovisuel, INA). This program features fascinating interviews with Franco Zeffirelli, Georges Prêtre, Georges Auric and Emmanuel Bondeville.

But, most interesting is that the program also apparently includes audio-only of Callas singing the "Casta Diva" from the same May 1964 rehearsal! Also included is audio of the first few orchestral bars of the cabaletta. This suggests the possibility that the entire 12 minute scene (recitative, aria and cabaletta) might have been filmed, or at least recorded in audio.

https://www.ina.fr/ina-eclaire-actu/video/caf89042027/maria-callas-a-l-opera-de-paris

The audio in this documentary seems to be the only surviving record of Callas' singing in the 1964 Paris Norma production. There were rumours that Callas record producer Michel Glotz might have recorded one or more of these eight Norma performances, however, apparently his secretary Thérèse Darras has denied that he recorded any of the 1964 Normas. So one wonders if the folks at the INA have rummaged through their archives to see if there is any leftover raw, unused film from the 1964 Callas Paris Norma rehearsal? A complete 12 minute film of the whole scene (recitative/aria/cabaletta) would be a significant find - especially with Callas and the extras in full costumes and staging.

Paul Houle
 

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Maria Callas appeared in eight performances of Norma at the Paris Opera in May and June 1964. Part of the dress rehearsal for this Norma production was filmed by French television. Many of us are familiar with the exciting, but brief film of Callas singing the recitative to the aria "Casta Diva" from the rehearsal. While musician union rules may have permitted the broadcast of no more than three minutes of film, it seems that more may have actually been filmed that was not broadcast.

Please see the link below to the 10 minute French television documentary about the 1964 Callas Paris Normas. This was broadcast on May 21, 1964 according to the French National Audiovisual Institute (L'Institut National de L'Audiovisuel, INA). This program features fascinating interviews with Franco Zeffirelli, Georges Prêtre, Georges Auric and Emmanuel Bondeville.

But, most interesting is that the program also apparently includes audio-only of Callas singing the "Casta Diva" from the same May 1964 rehearsal! Also included is audio of the first few orchestral bars of the cabaletta. This suggests the possibility that the entire 12 minute scene (recitative, aria and cabaletta) might have been filmed, or at least recorded in audio.

https://www.ina.fr/ina-eclaire-actu/video/caf89042027/maria-callas-a-l-opera-de-paris

The audio in this documentary seems to be the only surviving record of Callas' singing in the 1964 Paris Norma production. There were rumours that Callas record producer Michel Glotz might have recorded one or more of these eight Norma performances, however, apparently his secretary Thérèse Darras has denied that he recorded any of the 1964 Normas. So one wonders if the folks at the INA have rummaged through their archives to see if there is any leftover raw, unused film from the 1964 Callas Paris Norma rehearsal? A complete 12 minute film of the whole scene (recitative/aria/cabaletta) would be a significant find - especially with Callas and the extras in full costumes and staging.

Paul Houle
Another opportunity lost to preserve one of Callas's greatest roles, beautifully staged by Franco Zeffirelli - it must've been very beautiful.

It is interesting, too that the Paris Norma performances were recorded only in their second run, in 1965 - alas, only audio. See divinarecords.com "The last Normas," vol.I & II.

It is amazing that she got through the performances.
 

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65 years ago today (February 7th, 1957), EMI started recording Il Barbiere di Siviglia in London. Stereo equipment was available there and this became the company's first recording in stereo with Callas. In the cast were Tito Gobbi, Luigi Alva, Nicola Zaccaria and Fritz Ollendorff. The superb Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus were conducted by Alceo Galliera.

It is my favorite recording of this work and my only one these days.
 

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View attachment 163765

65 years ago today (February 7th, 1957), EMI started recording Il Barbiere di Siviglia in London. Stereo equipment was available there and this became the company's first recording in stereo with Callas. In the cast were Tito Gobbi, Luigi Alva, Nicola Zaccaria and Fritz Ollendorff. The superb Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus were conducted by Alceo Galliera.

It is my favorite recording of this work and my only one these days.
It has stood the test of time remarkably well. Has there been a better pairing of Rosina and Figaro than Callas and Gobbi?

I have a few recordings of this opera as there are so many recordings with singers I love. Simionato's first recording on Cetra wouldn't ever be a library choice, due to the restricted, primitive mono sound, but it's a great example of light ensemble singing and it has that sense of fun that is a key characteristic of the EMI recording. I like Bartoli's for a complete performance and then there are classic essentials such as the De los Angeles and Met live with Lily Pons.

N.
 

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View attachment 163765

65 years ago today (February 7th, 1957), EMI started recording Il Barbiere di Siviglia in London. Stereo equipment was available there and this became the company's first recording in stereo with Callas. In the cast were Tito Gobbi, Luigi Alva, Nicola Zaccaria and Fritz Ollendorff. The superb Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus were conducted by Alceo Galliera.

It is my favorite recording of this work and my only one these days.
I only have this recording too. If I bought another it would probably be the classic De Los Angeles recording.
 

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The recent appointment of Nathalie Stutzman as chief conductor of the Atlanta Symphony, also Barbara Hannigan's posts with the Gothenburg and London Symphonies led me to the crazy 'what-if' that were a possibility in the early 1970s... hmmm...
This is a fascinating topic. I'm not sure Callas would have enjoyed conducting (all of the ventures she tried post career didn't seem to satisfy her). Whether she would have made a good conductor is another matter entirely.

N.
 

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It's nothing we haven't seen before, but I couldn't resist posting this (colorized?) photo of the 1965 Tosca, marking Callas's return to the Metropolitan Opera - here with Franco Corelli. At her entrance, the audience went wild and stopped the performance for a few minutes. The photo is from the 19 March performance (Richard Tucker was her Cavaradossi on 25 March - 57 years ago today).

I got it in my Facebook queue.

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It's nothing we haven't seen before, but I couldn't resist posting this (colorized?) photo of the 1965 Tosca, marking Callas's return to the Metropolitan Opera - here with Franco Corelli. At her entrance, the audience went wild and stopped the performance for a few minutes.

I got it in my Facebook queue.

View attachment 165377
Let me just add to that this beautiful picture of her as Norma at the opening of the 1955 season at la Scala.

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This relatively new book, which looks like a recording, escaped my attention until it popped up on my Amazon “recommendatioms” this week. It’s one of my favorite Callas records and I thought it was a review, but it’s more than that: read the blurb on the Amazon site, which I’m appending to this post, and cringe.
Pull on the image to enlarge.


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If someone is still interested, it can be found in the link below - the image above is static.
 

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Lyric and Coloratura Arias

Book by Ginger Dellenbaugh, published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2022, 146 pages

This is a little gem of a book written by trained opera singer and music historian Ginger Dellenbaugh who is based in New York City and Vienna, Austria. It is part of a series entitled “33 1/3” in which each volume of about 150 pages is devoted to a single classic LP record. There are currently 161 of these books. Interestingly, 160 of the books are dedicated to classic rock, jazz, folk and pop albums. This is the first given over to a classic opera recital - perhaps reflecting Callas’s status as not only a musical giant but a cultural icon.

This is one of my favourite Callas recitals and one of the first that I bought as a teenager. With my modest adolescent income, I bought a very fine French LP pressing of Lyric and Coloratura Arias. I’ve listened to this album for 48 years and every time I listen, it is never stale and I hear some new revelation. Evidence of a truly immortal long playing record.

Dellenbaugh hinges her analysis of this great vinyl on her thorough knowledge of the mechanics of operatic vocal production. From there, she broadens the scope to look at the historical context of the music as well as Callas’s performance of it. And beyond that, Dellenbaugh looks at this recital in relation to Callas’s personal life as well as the broad social, cultural, mass media and political influences impacting a woman of her generation in a stratospheric musical career.

For example, Dellenbaugh, in relation to mass media, discusses the use of the Callas singing voice in movie soundtracks and takes on the Callas hologram in particular: “Separating Callas from her ensemble [for a hologram] transforms the voice into a collage object, one element in the construct of a creepy deep fake….The very totality of the hologram, paradoxically, runs counter to the effect that it would presume to evoke - this is not, and will never be, Callas.” (Pages 63-65).

The aria from Mephistophele, L’altra notte, is one that has captivated me and Dellenbaugh describes it as such: “The delivery of this aria is so seamless that words seem inadequate to describe what Callas is doing here. Her voice fluctuates from cold, to hot, to scalding, from sweet to ugly to extreme….In my ear, the recording is inviolable. It pulls me in completely, and I have a feeling, against my own logic, of being overpowered…it pulls me in like a vortex….” (Pages 70-72).

This little volume is a good antidote for the crowds of gossipy, if not trashy tomes out there. Most importantly, Dellenbaugh anchors her examination to a knowledge and appreciation of the Callas technical mastery: “while listening to these tracks I am overwhelmingly aware of Callas’s masterful command of vocal technique. Even when it may seem that she is channeling some force beyond her control, Callas is a virtuosic vocal craftsman, a fact too often overlooked in biographies that attribute the uncanny power of performances to emotional and biographical extremes.” (Page xii).

Apparently because of space limitations, Dellenbaugh unfortunately does not fully examine the last aria on the album, Verdi’s Mercé, dilette amiche from Vespri Siciliani. Full texts and translations are included for all the other arias on the disc. These are Dellenbaugh’s own translations of the text of each. No CD of the recital is included with this volume, but the book could well be packaged as a great companion to the CD or even the reissued LP.

I recommend this book.

Paul Houle
Vancouver
 
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