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The Callas Effect [2 CDs + DVD]


Release Date: 10/11/2011 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 84356   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gioachino RossiniGiuseppe VerdiGiacomo PucciniLéo Delibes,   ... 
Performer:  Maria CallasRenato ErcolaniCarlo Forti
Conductor:  Tullio SerafinFranco GhioneGeorges PrêtreNicola Rescigno,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraLisbon San Carlos National Theater Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This makes a good Callas set for beginners. It contains arias that showcase a good section of her most successful repertoire and it captures her voice at its best. Exactly when it is captured remains a mystery, however: the set’s main problem for pre-existing fans and aficionados is that, while it contains information about where and with whom each track was recorded, we are not given any dates. Given the variable nature of Callas’ voice, the multiple occasions on which she recorded many of her roles, and the speed of her vocal decline, this is a serious oversight. Read more However, while this may put off collectors it won’t discourage first-timers. They will also be helped by the sumptuous packaging: the CDs and DVD are housed in a luxurious hardback book with glossy photos and full texts and translations. There is also a very good essay from Ira Siff giving an overview of her career and including some lovely personal recollections, as well as analysing her significance for her art.

The excerpts themselves are well chosen to showcase Callas at her best. I was most pleasantly surprised by the French excerpts which are sung sensitively and with an unusually perceptive ear for French style. Her Donna Elvira is also very interesting, if rather unlovely. For those who are already Callas fans the chief attraction may be the DVD. As you might guess from the title, The Callas Effect, its main aim is to pin down what made Callas special and to pick out some examples of that from her career. It does that fairly well, though it tells us nothing new, instead reiterating commonplaces such as how effective her acting was and how she always used the music to deduce how to give a gesture or action on stage. It focuses disproportionately on her contribution to the 1964 Zeffirelli Tosca at Covent Garden, interviewing some who were involved in that production either as extras or chorus members. There are also extensive extracts from the filmed Act 2. These might not tell us anything new, but they serve to underline just how magnetic a stage presence she really was, as well as what vocal beauty she was capable of even at that late stage in her career. There are some (very unhelpful) interviews with superfans who, somewhat amusingly, are given the title of “Opera connoisseurs”, and with modern singers, such as Joyce DiDonato, who comment on her significance for the art of singing. The most interesting moments, however, come from those who collaborated with her professionally, such as John Copley and John Tooley. Tooley tells a fascinating story of how he offered her Santuzza at Covent Garden as a return to the stage, long after she was supposed to have retired, with the mouth-watering prospect of Domingo as Turridu. We will have to be content with dreaming about what that would have been like! She refused but, he tells us, years later she admitted to him that she should have done it.

So while aficionados probably won’t find much to inspire them here, it’s not a bad way in for those who may want to explore Callas’ legacy on disc. It’s also very good value for money and would make a good gift for someone.

-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Il barbiere di Siviglia: Una voce poco fa...Io sono dolcile by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
2. I vespri siciliani: Mercè, dilette amiche "Bolero" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
3. Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
4. La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
5. Rigoletto: Caro nome by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano), Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Carlo Forti (Bass)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
6. La traviata: Ah, fors' è lui by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franco Ghione
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lisbon San Carlos National Theater Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
7. Lakmé: Où va la jeune indoue? "Bell Song" by Léo Delibes
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
8. Faust: Ah! je ris de me voir si belle "Jewel Song" by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
9. Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Amour, viens aider ma faiblesse by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
10. Carmen: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle "Habañera" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Written: 1873-1874 
11. Mignon: Je suis Titania la blonde by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; France 
12. Alceste: Divinités du Styx by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 
13. Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
14. Macbeth: La luce langue by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
15. Turandot: In questa reggia by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
16. Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
17. Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
18. Suor Angelica: Senza mamma, o bimbo, tu sei morto by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
19. La Wally: Ebben?... Ne andrò lontana by Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
20. Il trovatore: D'amor sull' ali rosee by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
21. Andrea Chénier: La mamma morta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
22. Il pirata: Col sorriso d'innocenza by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
23. Ernani: Surta è la notte by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
24. Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
25. Carmen: Carreau, pique...la mort! by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  French National Radio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
26. Don Giovanni, K 527: In quali eccessi...Mi tradì quell' alma ingrata by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
27. Don Carlos: Tu, che la vanitá conoscesti del mondo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
28. La Gioconda: Suicidio! by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonino Votto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
29. Manon Lescaut: Sola, perduta, abbandonata by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 

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