Maria Callas © 2012 Adriaan Fuchs. All rights reserved.

Maria Callas: The Great Years (1952-1955)

“Beauty. Something beautiful. Intensity, expression, everything. She was a monstrous phenomenon. Almost a sickness – the kind of actress that has passed for all time.”

– Luchino Visconti

 

Programme 2: The Great Years (1952-1955)

Broadcast “live” on Fine Music Radio on 14 September 2012.

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In the second of four programmes on Maria Callas, I explore La Divina’s great years, starting with her debut at Covent Garden in 1952, her earliest recordings for EMI in 1953, her dramatic weight loss and transformation from obese prima donna to thin fashion icon, her supposed rivalry with Renata Tebaldi, and up to 1955, the year that saw some of her greatest artistic achievements as the reigning queen of La Scala. Highlights include recordings of legendary “live” performances in Norma, La traviata, Medea and Lucia di Lammermoor.
 

Podcast Track List

1) “Caro Nome” from Act I of Rigoletto (Verdi)
Conductor: Umberto Mugnai
Recorded “live” on 17 June 1952 at the Palacio de las Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

2) “Martern aller Arten” (“Tutte le turtore”) from Act II of Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
Conductor: Alfredo Simonetto
RAI Orchestra
Recorded “live” on 27 December 1954 in San Remo.

3) “D’amor al dolce impero” from Act II of Armida (Rossini)
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded “live” on 26 April 1952 at the Teatro Comunale, Florence.

4) “Addio, Addio” from Act II of Rigoletto (Verdi)
with Giuseppe di Stefano (Duke)
Conductor: Umberto Mugnai
Recorded “live” on 17 June 1952 at the Palacio de las Bellas Artes, Mexico City.

5) “Casta Diva… Ah! bello a me ritorna” from Act I of Norma (Bellini)
Conductor: Vittorio Gui
Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Recorded “live” on 18 November 1952 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

6) “Vienni! t’affretta!” from Act I of Macbeth (Verdi)
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Recorded “live” on 7 December 1952 at La Scala, Milan.

7) “Regnava nel silenzio…” from Act I of Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded: 1953, for EMI.

8) “Ora stammi a sentir” from Act I of Tosca (Puccini)
with Giuseppe Di Stefano (Mario Cavaradossi)
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan.
Recorded: 1953 for EMI.

9) “Taci Giasone… Dei tuoi figli la madre” from Act I of Medea (Cherubini)
with Gino Penno (Giasone)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Recorded “live” on 10 December 1953 at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

10) “Mira, O Norma” from Act II of Norma (Bellini)
with Giulietta Simionato (Adalgisa)
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Conductor: Antonino Votto
Recorded “live” on 7 December 1955 at La Scala, Milan.

11) “Ritorna Vincitor!” from Act I of Aida (Verdi)
Renata Tebaldi (Aida)
Recorded: 23 November 1949, Ginevra.

12) “Ritorna Vincitor!” from from Act I of Aida (Verdi)
Maria Callas (Aida)
Conductor: Nicola Rescigno
Monte Carlo Conservatory Concert Society Orchestra
Recorded: 1964, for EMI.

13) “Come per me sereno” from Act I of La sonnambula (Bellini)
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, Milan
Recorded “live” on 5 March 1955 at La Scala, Milan.

14) “Che fai? Nulla… Amami Alfredo” from Act II of La traviata (Verdi)
with Giuseppe di Stefano (Alfredo)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
Recorded “live” on 28 May 1955 at La Scala, Milan.

15) “Alfin son tua” from Act III of Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, Milan
Recorded “live” on 29 September 1955 at the Städtische Oper, Berlin.

16) “Con onor muore… Tu, tu piccolo Iddio” from Act II of Madama Butterfly (Puccini)
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan.
Recorded: 1955, for EMI.

17) “Dammi quell fero!… Qual cor tradisti” from Act II of Norma (Bellini)
with Mario del Monaco (Pollione) & Nicola Zaccaria (Oreveso)
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Conductor: Antonino Votto
Recorded “live” on 7 December 1955 at La Scala, Milan.

2 Comments

  1. Sean

    What a splendid compilation of rare Callas live-recordings
    are to be enjoyed in Adriaan Fucht’s broadcasts On and Off The Record on Fine
    Music Radio (Cape Town): obtainable on Podcast from his Web Site of the same
    name: onandoff therecord . In this compilation Callas’s incomparable art is
    showcased in one breathtaking vocal masterpiece after the other. In his
    brilliant commentary Fucht draws attention to fine but important details: how
    the live recordings give the full Maria Callas as she gave a dimension of
    herself in communicating with her audiences live (in contrast to the studio
    recordings).

    The success with which Adriaan Fuchs presents this series is
    itself a work of genius, giving two hours of riveting listening: the best , I daresay,
    there is on the topic. I would say it is a worthy complement, in sound, to John
    Ardoin’s masterful Photobook: Callas.

    As La Divina herself put it: ”It all there, in my recordings.”

    • Dear Sean,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! They are greatly appreciated and I am thrilled to hear that you have been enjoying the programs on Maria Callas. Thank you.

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