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Contents of the Ars Vocalis release of the Callas concert in Paris, June 5, 1963

The stereo tape of Maria Callas’s Paris concert of June 5, 1963 as released on Ars Vocalis AV 5663-2 (2 CDs) includes the following:

Disc One

Radio announcement
Overture to Semiramide
Semiramide
- Bel raggio
La Cenerentola - Nacqui all’affanno
Overture to Benvenuto Cellini
Manon
- Adieu notre petite table
Werther - Werther! Werther! Qui m’aurait dit la place

Disc Two

Overture to Vespri Siciliani
Nabucco
- Ben io t’invenni
Intermezzo to Pagliacci
Intermezzo to Manon Lescaut
Bohème
- Quando m’en vo
Madama Butterfly - Tu? Tu? Piccolo Iddio!
Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro

Bonus

Maria Callas in conversation with Michel Glotz (recorded at 44 Avenue Foch, May 25, 1963)
Norma - Casta Diva (Stuttgart, May 23, 1963)

The Callas conversation with Glotz was recorded at Callas’s apartment at the time, 44 Avenue Foch. The Casta Diva from the Stuttgart Norma features excellent mono sound. The stereo sound from Paris is excellent.

This release can be ordered through [email protected]

Paul
 

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BREAKING NEWS - DIVINA RECORDS SET TO RELEASE 1950 MEXICO CITY TROVATORE



Pablo clearly hasn't given up and that's great news for all Callas aficionado. He is set to release the 1950 Mexico City Trovatore, remastered directly from the acetate transcription discs in the BJR Collection.

The 1950 Mexico City Trovatore has been the most desirable and eagerly awaited among live recordings of Callas's Mexico City performances and soon we could expect to hear it in the best ever sound reproduction it has ever received!

So far Pablo has shown only the cover on Divina's website but hopefully more info will be available when it comes to the release of the remastering: Home – Divina Records

The upcoming release is expected to be made available as three different formats of digital downloads. For those who desire physical CDs, it's not certain whether Pablo will resume production of custom-made CD-Rs, so you might wish to wait for further info or contact Pablo to enquire.
 

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BREAKING NEWS - DIVINA RECORDS SET TO RELEASE 1950 MEXICO CITY TROVATORE



Pablo clearly hasn't given up and that's great news for all Callas aficionado. He is set to release the 1950 Mexico City Trovatore, remastered directly from the acetate transcription discs in the BJR Collection.

The 1950 Mexico City Trovatore has been the most desirable and eagerly awaited among live recordings of Callas's Mexico City performances and soon we could expect to hear it in the best ever sound reproduction it has ever received!

So far Pablo has shown only the cover on Divina's website but hopefully more info will be available when it comes to the release of the remastering: Home – Divina Records

The upcoming release is expected to be made available as three different formats of digital downloads. For those who desire physical CDs, it's not certain whether Pablo will resume production of custom-made CD-Rs, so you might wish to wait for further info or contact Pablo to enquire.
Thank you for the great news. Even though the 1956 EMI recording with Karajan will always remain my favorite among Callas's recorded Trovatore Leonoras, her 1950 Mexico City role debut, sung in that dark, voluptuous, lava-like pre-diet voice with loads of passion, fire, drive and devil-may-care abandon, is a really fascinating document. As in the case of the 1952 Mexico City Puritani, with the Divina edition emerging, all previous incarnations of this performance on various labels are destined for the rubbish bin.
 

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BREAKING NEWS - DIVINA RECORDS SET TO RELEASE 1950 MEXICO CITY TROVATORE



Pablo clearly hasn't given up and that's great news for all Callas aficionado. He is set to release the 1950 Mexico City Trovatore, remastered directly from the acetate transcription discs in the BJR Collection.

The 1950 Mexico City Trovatore has been the most desirable and eagerly awaited among live recordings of Callas's Mexico City performances and soon we could expect to hear it in the best ever sound reproduction it has ever received!

So far Pablo has shown only the cover on Divina's website but hopefully more info will be available when it comes to the release of the remastering: Home – Divina Records

The upcoming release is expected to be made available as three different formats of digital downloads. For those who desire physical CDs, it's not certain whether Pablo will resume production of custom-made CD-Rs, so you might wish to wait for further info or contact Pablo to enquire.
Wonderful! This, and the 1939, Bjorling, Cigna Trovatore are two of my very favourites despite the poor sound.
 

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Callas' Mexico performances can be difficult to find. I hope Divina releases them all. Her first Lucia next?

N.
Mexico City performances by Maria Callas

Ars Vocalis is the best current source to order physical CDs of all the Maria Callas Mexico City performances that are not available through Divina Records.

I have purchased three from Ars Vocalis:

Aida, Mexico City, July 3, 1951, BJR/AV 151-3

This Aida set is produced from the best available sound source - the BJR LPs. Very listenable sound and a very gutsy performance by all the cast.

La traviata, Mexico City, July 17, 1951, AV 170751-2

The complete July 17, 1951 Traviata survives only as an off-the-air tape made by a fan so the sound quality is marginal but Ars Vocalis has done a fine job of taming tape hiss and re-equalizing to bring out the best sound. Some of this performance survives on much better quality acetate radio transcription discs, but unfortunately only about 20 minutes of highlights were saved on the 16 inch radio discs. The remainder of the performance was either not recorded on disc or they have been lost.

Lucia di Lammermoor, Mexico City, June 10, 1952, AV 100652-2

This Ars Vocalis set also includes the two alternate versions of the Mad Scene from June 14 and June 26, 1952. Apparently the two other Mad Scenes were discovered on original acetate radio transcription discs in Callas’s apartment after her death. As Callas presumably did not have a 16 inch acetate disc player, she was likely listening to tape copies.

These releases can be ordered through [email protected] Ars Vocalis ships quickly and with great care.

All of the Mexico City material is also available on YouTube if you’re skilled in doing MP3 copies to disc or stick from YouTube. Our friend CallasFan has uploaded some of the Mexico City material to his YouTube channel. The out-of-print Opera D’Oro label (Allegro Corporation) also has many of the Mexico City performances available in its CD series and they are not hard to find and are good quality.

Paul
 

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The 1950 Mexico City Trovatore is now available to purchase from Divina Records:




The remastering is offered in three digital download formats: higher quality (though still lossy) MP3 (320 Kbps), CD-quality FLAC, CD-quality iTune Lossless.

Extra materials can be downloaded directly from the webpage.

Pablo is apparently not offering the custom-made CD-R option. This will disappoint those who desire physical CDs. However, given currently rising fuel prices, high shipping cost and generally much slower shipping speed and mail waiting time, if you wish to hear the remastering sooner rather than later, digital download may be the better option and one to bypass all those said troubles and frustrations with shipping.

Suggested downloadable app to play FLAC files on your PC: How to play FLAC files - BOXSET.ME
 

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I have bought the Divina Records release of the 1950 Mexico City Trovatore in the Flac lossless format digital download. As I had previously bought the earlier incarnation of the performance on Melodram 26017 dubbed and issued by Ars Vocalis, I was able to carry out a comparison. The Melodram issue was apparently sourced from a poor sounding off-the -air tape and sounds muddy and muffled. Coming to the latest Divina issue remastered directly from the 16-inch radio transcription discs in the BJR collection, it is as though layers of veils have been lifted from the sound picture and the performance, in particular Callas' lava-like, thrilling pre-diet voice, emerges with a new clarity and vividness, as well as colours and nuances in softer passages (such as in the two arias, "E deggio e posso crederlo" from Act two conclusion and other places) that I have not previously known. In addition one also gets to hear ovations (such as a prolonged one after Leonora's Act 4 duet with Conte di Luna) and radio commentaries previously not heard in earlier incarnations of the performance.

The Divina release is now THE GO-TO version for the 1950 Mexico City Trovatore, period. As for the Melodram 26017 I had bought from Ars Vocalis, since the insert artworks and print on CDs had been meticulously prepared by Ars Vocalis, I can't bear to throw it away even though the Melodram remastering is now clearly and entirely superseded and replaced. Perhaps I will keep it just as a souvenir.
 

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Pablo is apparently not offering the custom-made CD-R option. This will disappoint those who desire physical CDs. However, given currently rising fuel prices, high shipping cost and generally much slower shipping speed and mail waiting time, if you wish to hear the remastering sooner rather than later, digital download may be the better option and one to bypass all those said troubles and frustrations with shipping.
Cannot agree more with Viardots about the sound reproduction of the Divina Records release.

Please note that if you've purchased the digital download, apart the audio files of the tracks, you would also have received the cover insert and back artworks presented in a PDF file. You can actually buy your own CD-R and burn the digital audio files to the CD-R using an appropriate software on your PC (of course you need a CD-ROM drive) and find a colour printer to print out the artworks to make your own CD case.
 

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I just downloaded Callas Fun La Sonnambula from la Scala 5-3-1955. Ιs the best effort I've heard so far. I quote his description concerning both his specific production and the previous one from Mexixo City 1951 Aida.
"Low and high frequency hum has been removed,audience noise,such as coughing,and audible prompters have been removed or minimised while maintaining the integrity of the original sound. Fauls in the original recording have been repaired,and resonant frequencies have been removed where possible."
Αnd something concerning the specific release of la Sonnambula "A true highlight of Callas’career,this electrifying performance is presented with the correct Act1 Scene1 finale,and a wider frequency range than other CD releases"
I can confirm the truth of his words about both of his releases as much as my "poor ears" allow me to :)
 

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Hello all. Ive read most of this thread devotedly. As a late middle aged person (59) im saddened by Divina no longer shipping physical cds. As a simple Callas completist...which is the best download choice for a guy with a laptop and a burner? And do i use junky CDRs or is there a better disc choice?
 

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Hello all. Ive read most of this thread devotedly. As a late middle aged person (59) im saddened by Divina no longer shipping physical cds. As a simple Callas completist...which is the best download choice for a guy with a laptop and a burner? And do i use junky CDRs or is there a better disc choice?
Refer to here:

If you want to burn your own CDs, you have to use blank CD-R (i.e. recordable CD) to start with. There is no other choice. Here's a guide to the best CD-R available on the market:

 

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LYRIC AND COLORATURA ARIAS
Reading throught the first chapter, she immediately puts her finger on what I don't particularly like about Callas in the studio, which is, even in 1954, the sometimes nasal placement. That said, the author seems to very much exaggerate the degree of nasality here and reading a bit more she doesn't convince me in her descriptions of 'how' she thinks Callas is producing certain sounds.
 

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Thank you again for sharing. However, readers of this thesis should refer back to post #2559 of this thread - a note from RES regarding issues concerning the author of the thesis:

...amusingly, I just discovered something extremely bizarre. A guy from South Africa who had a radio show 'On and Off the Record' and now holds a PR job at Lincoln Center in New York, Adriaan Fuchs, presented a Master's thesis that was accepted in 2006 called "In Search of the 'True' Sound of an Artist: A Study of Recordings by Maria Callas". Sound familiar? It should, as it is a 360-page unauthorized expansion of my articles in The Opera Quarterly: "Callas at EMI; Remastering and Perception" (Spring 2000), and "A Callas Recording Update" (Spring 2005) [and, not cited, the brief "A Callas Recording Update...updated" (Summer 2005)]. It's not exactly plagiarism, as I am very much lauded and referenced, but it is hardly original research either, with long quotations from my work--attributed--on half its pages, and with chapters following my headings exactly. I can't see how something like this would qualify as partly fulfilling "the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy [Music Technology] in the Faculty of Arts, Stellenbosch University". I have already sent letters to the faculty and addressed the issues of fair use under international copyright laws--he never even contacted me or OUP, and whether this odd monograph constitutes the 'original research' they require for an advanced degree. It is interesting that this guy 'friended' me on Facebook and when I sent him a fairly tame and pleasant message, he revoked that friendship the following day and blocked me from seeing him. I bet, being in a rather prestigious position, that he called his lawyer, who told him to have nothing to do with me, expecting a lawsuit (which doesn't interest me; I am only concerned that his 'thesis' invalidates the degree he acquired).
 

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Maria Callas: Lettres & Mémoires (Letters & Memoirs)
Book in the French language with texts selected, translated and annotated by Tom Volf. Published by Albin Michel, Paris, 2019, 606 pages

The author of this book, Tom Volf, seems to have overreached himself in producing a stage version of Letters & Memoirs. Starring Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Callas, it has received generally poor reviews. One London newspaper referred to the production as a “Callas-tastrophe”. While I haven’t seen this dramatized version of the book, I do find it hard to imagine a stimulating night at the theatre with any actress simply reading from Callas’s writings for 90 minutes and not much else happening on stage.

This is unfortunate as, for me, Letters & Memoirs is the best “autobiography” that Maria Callas never wrote. It draws together, in one fat volume, letters written by-and-to Callas as well as her various shorter memoirs (published and unpublished) that she dictated or wrote herself. And apparently many of the letters are previously unpublished.

I am basing my assessment of the book on reading the original 2019 French edition. But, as best I can tell in searching all over the internet, this book is also available in Italian and Spanish translations. So far, there seems to be no English or Greek versions on the horizon. So, if your French is serviceable, I highly recommend it. If not, go to the Italian or Spanish versions or wait for the English.

This Volf compilation has the advantage that it presents full performance annals and studio recording sessions covering the period of Callas’s mature career from 1947 to 1977. It is extremely useful to have Callas letters and memoirs juxtaposed chronologically with what she was singing at the time.

What strikes me most about this volume is the extent to which Callas was very often a generous and articulate correspondent - very kind to friends and with a talent for writing very long and passionate letters and very many of them.

A sampling of some quotes from Letters & Memoirs:

Callas letter to Elvira de Hidalgo (January 28, 1946):

“Can you imagine that [Met director Edward] Johnson said that I must sing Butterfly, and Desdemona in Otello. For the love of God! I turned around [to him] and said ‘Pardon? I must not have heard correctly because to make me do Butterfly would be ridiculous, fat like I am.’ But I did hear correctly, poor me! Better to shut my mouth and never sing again than sing this. It’s true.” (Page 71).

Franco Zeffirelli to Callas (June 26,1958):

“I believe that our project to film Traviata is a very serious enterprise and it is for this reason that I have worked hard for so long with the goal that it become a reality….I believe that I would blame myself for the rest of my days if we did not succeed now in capturing, on three thousand metres of film, your Traviata!….” (pages 273-274).

Callas letter to Louis Parish (January 23, 1975):

“If I decide to do any more concerts…these will be alone with orchestra. But, right now, calm and lucid as I am, I believe that I will decide to double [doubler] some of my best recordings and interpret them for films, so that they will be able to see Callas on stage (or nearly) and these will be there for posterity, since everyone says that I must leave a record of my acting.” (Page 510).

Callas writing in 1977:

“I have written my memoirs. They are in the music that I interpret - the only language that I really know. The only way in which I can speak of my art and myself. And my recordings, for those who care, tell my story.” (Page 572).

So, you may want to avoid the apparent Callas overexploitation involved in the stage play. But it’s worth looking at this book. I learned more about Callas’s artistry by reading so many more letters and short memoirs that I had never seen before. And as usual for me, I mentally filtered out the Aristotle Onassis material.

Paul Houle
 
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