Puccini: Toscaby Maria Callas
In 1959, Maria Callas met Aristotle Onassis, and from that moment on it could be said that her life took a distinct downward turn. She left her husband, Battista Meneghini, and drastically curtailed her performance schedule. Indeed, as John Steane's booklet note points out, when Callas sang this series of performances of Puccini's Tosca in January and February 1964, she had not appeared in an operatic production for some 18 months (though she did sing several recitals in the meantime). One can only imagine the excitement that greeted the diva's return -- and in an opera with which she was so closely associated. Here, in quite decent stereo sound, is the performance from January 24th. From her first cries of "Mario!", Callas is clearly in her element. True, some of the high notes are wobbly, but she embodies the character so fully that one can easily forgive such relatively minor vocal shortcomings. Every line she sings has meaning, and each is given a unique color. She is matched in her vocal and dramatic acuity by Tito Gobbi, undoubtedly the Scarpia of his day. Without resorting to vocal trickery, he conveys a sense of immense and dark evil. Renato Cioni is not the heartiest of Cavaradossis, but he sings sweetly and affably enough; Callas certainly sang and recorded with far worse tenors. The orchestra plays beautifully for Carlo Felice Cillario, who squeezes plenty of drama from Puccini's ever-popular score. No, this shouldn't supersede Callas's famous studio recording (again with Gobbi) under Victor de Sabata, but it is a memento of what must have been a tremendously exciting and satisfying night at the opera.
- Release Date:
- Emi Classics
- Tosca, opera - Giacomo Puccini - Maria Callas - Giuseppe Giacosa - Edgard Boniface - Carlo Felice Cillario - Renato Cioni - Eric Garrett - Tito Gobbi - Victor Godfrey - Luigi Illica - Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra - Joan Sutherland - Royal Opera House Chorus Covent Garden - David Sellar - Georgina Ward - Dennis Wicks - Robert Bowman
Performance CreditsMaria Callas Primary Artist
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