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Historical - Leoncavallo, Mascagni / Serafin, Callas

Release Date: 06/07/2005 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 86830   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ruggero LeoncavalloPietro Mascagni
Performer:  Maria CallasGiuseppe Di StefanoTito GobbiNicola Monti,   ... 
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 31 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recorded in 1953 and 1954 respectively, these recordings of Cav and Pag remain the most compelling on discs, despite boxy, occasionally distorted sound. Maria Callas sang Santuzza on stage only as a student in Athens--she was 15 years old--but her portrayal here seems the work of someone who has lived with the character for years. She's in ideal voice--rock solid, with a middle of great strength, a gleaming top (her top B at the close of the "Ineggiamo" is Isolde-like), and a chest voice that she refuses to overuse. This Santuzza is more wounded than angry, but Turiddu pushes her too far--we feel the mood change organically. Giuseppe di Stefano's Turiddu is virile and nuanced, with plenty of voice; his timing, which could get Read more thrown off easily, is flawless here. Rolando Panerai's Alfio has a nice snarl, and the others in the cast, though far from lovely to listen to, are thoroughly involved.

The Pagliacci must be seen as a true rarity: not only did Callas never perform Nedda on stage, but it would seem to be too one-dimensional a character for her to do much with. But again, the variations in tone are miraculous: somewhat covered at the very start of the opera; introspective for the recit leading up to the free-feeling Balatella; at first just impatient and then truly vile in the duet with Tonio; and warm and loving with Silvio. Her Columbina is pert until Canio turns on her; her attempt to get the "play" back to normal is somewhat nervous, and then thoroughly defiant in her final moments. Di Stefano matches her and gives huge amounts of voice, rarely going to the excesses he was wont to, particularly in this free-for-all role. Tito Gobbi's Tonio is a sarcastic monster; he sings with an audible sneer. Throughout both operas, Tullio Serafin leads with perfect verismo thrust, but without having to underline the form's crudenesses. It's great to have this pair of operas available, albeit without texts and translations, at less than full price. [7/25/2005]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

I Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano), Giuseppe Di Stefano (Tenor), Tito Gobbi (Baritone),
Nicola Monti (Tenor), Rolando Panerai (Baritone)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy 
Length: 72 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy (06/12/1954 - 06/17/1954) 
Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano (Tenor), Ebe Ticozzi (Alto), Anna Maria Canali (Mezzo Soprano),
Maria Callas (Soprano), Rolando Panerai (Baritone)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Length: 78 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Santa Euphemia Basilica, Milan, Italy (06/16/1953 - 06/25/1953); Santa Euphemia Basilica, Milan, Italy (08/03/1953 - 08/04/1953) 

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