- Tosca, opera - Giacomo Puccini - Maria Callas - Franco Calabrese - Dario Caselli - La Scala Theater Orchestra & Chorus - Victor de Sabata - Tito Gobbi - Melchiorre Luise - Angelo Mercuriali - Giuseppe di Stefano - Vittore Veneziani - Georgina Ward - Alvaro Cordova
When EMI's staff recorded Puccini's indestructible melodrama in 1953, they created what many consider the finest recording of an opera -- period. Half a century has passed, and this performance's sovereignty still remains unchallenged. Puccini didn't let his opera's at times unconvincing libretto deter him from writing music that terrifyingly depicts the violence and suffering he detected in its pages. On this recording, Maria Callas, the prima donna of the 20th century, realizes every inch of her character (in a role she claimed she actually didn't like much) through a sense of timing and theater that remain flawless, and through a vocal instrument not yet undone by the flaws that would emerge a few years later. With a cast that features the great vocal acting of baritone Tito Gobbi and the gorgeous tenor of Giuseppe di Stefano, the performance is led by conductor Victor de Sabata in an interpretation that will make any listeners' blood run cold with fear and sympathy -- and prove that with the right understanding, even somewhat sordid material can possess the truest emotions of art.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is undoubtedly the greatest operatic recording of the 20th century. No other soprano managed to go half the way Callas went this role. Other sopranos might scream or even make you laugh in the dramatic parts by their dramatic exagerration but Callas simply made you shiver again and again even with simple words... When she sings "...torturate l'anima..." with her powerful chest register or when she says: "Come lunga l'atessa..." you will realise how can someone make you shiver without screaming or exaggerating but by simple vocal colors... Gobbi and Di Stefano are exemplary and the entire recording persuades you that this is the only ONE even if you haven't heard any other (when you do hear others you will be disappointed of how they all seem as bad copies of this masterpiece...) This is a recording that EVERYBODY should have in their library...
What else can I add to what has been written about this miraculous recording? Recordings of Tosca might be out there by the dozens, some of them quite decent and resepectful, yet this is the ONLY ONE that will always be the benchmark of what opera can truly be as a supreme artistic channel. Do not take my word for it, just buy it , sit back and prepare to be blown away!!!