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Callas - Life & Art / Maria Callas [2 CDs + DVD]


Release Date: 11/16/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 57831   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vincenzo BelliniGaetano DonizettiGiuseppe VerdiAlfredo Catalani,   ... 
Performer:  Maria CallasEbe TicozziJane BerbiéNadine Sautereau
Conductor:  Tullio SerafinNicola RescignoHerbert von KarajanVictor De Sabata,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala ChorusPhilharmonia Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Yes, EMI will continue to wrest every possible penny from Callas-lovers by constantly reshuffling its holdings, but what makes the three-disc set “Callas: Life & Art” particularly attractive is the presence, along with the two well-filled CDs, of the DVD containing the 1987 documentary film of that same title. Once available on a Kultur videocassette, and already issued separately on DVD by EMI, this was one of two such films produced to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the soprano’s death at 53 on September 16, 1977 (the other being Tony Palmer’s Callas, for which the late Callas authority John Ardoin was executive producer). The arrival of EMI’s recent combo set prompted me to watch not just Callas: Life & Art, but also Read more the 1987 Palmer film and the third important English-language video essay, Callas: A Documentary, written by Ardoin, narrated by Franco Zeffirelli, and produced by Peter Weinberg for New York City’s PBS station WNET-TV, which aired it in December 1978, a year after Callas died. (The award-winning Palmer film has been issued on DVD by Image Entertainment under the title Maria Callas, La Divina: A Portrait; the PBS film tends to be more elusive, but is currently available on a Bel Canto Society DVD.)

What’s striking is how engrossing all three of these films remain even today, nearly 30 years after Callas’s death. All three ultimately focus on that perennial issue, “Maria the Woman” vs. “Callas the Artist.” The Palmer film is perhaps the most “artistic” in its intercutting of performance footage, other archival materials, and filmed interviews (featuring Callas and numerous others, a few of whom, for whatever reason, go entirely unidentified, at least on the current DVD incarnation) to create a truly engrossing and compelling narrative. What the PBS film still has going for it, having been made in the year following the soprano’s death, is the immediacy of the various interviewees’ responses. When it was new, it also offered what was for many viewers a thrilling first look at extensive performance footage that had been locked away for years, though all of it has by now been released to the public. (It also includes some tantalizingly brief silent footage, still rarely seen, from Callas’s 1955 Chicago Butterfly and 1961 Scala Medea.) Like the other films, EMI’s Callas: Life & Art incorporates performance footage (here “Una voce poco fa” from her gala 1958 Paris debut concert; Carmen’s “Habanera” from a 1962 London concert; “Vissi d’arte” and a bit more from the 1964 Covent Garden Tosca; and material from her very last concert, a duo-recital with Giuseppe di Stefano, from 1974 in Tokyo); newsreel and interview footage of Callas herself; and reminiscences and/or commentary, in this instance featuring, among others, Carlo Maria Giulini, Zeffirelli, di Stefano, Lord Harewood, Peter Andry of EMI, Callas’s agent Sander Gorlinsky, Joan Sutherland, and Variety critic Jack Pitman. Given the very moderate price of this set (I’ve seen it selling for less than $25), “Callas: Life & Art” is well worth having for the DVD alone.

At this late date, it hardly seems necessary to comment on the contents of the set’s two CDs, which I’ve listed in full in the headnote. As selected and arranged by Tony Locantro, who also provides the thoughtful booklet notes, the excerpts span the entirety of Callas’s official recorded career, ranging from the very first aria LPs and opera sets led by her mentor Tullio Serafin in the mid 1950s to the French arias recorded with Georges Prêtre in the early 1960s. For good measure, the DVD in this set adds the televised 1962 Hamburg concert, also led by Prêtre, featuring Callas in Massenet’s “Pleurez, mes yeux,” the “Habanera” and “Séguedille” from Carmen, Verdi’s “Ernani, involami” and an impressively powerful “O don fatale,” and Rossini’s “Nacqui all’affanno” from Cenerentola. (That concert has been previously issued by EMI on both VHS and DVD.) EMI’s presentation of all these materials is appealing and attractive, in booklet format including numerous photos as well as complete texts and translations preceded by scene-setting introductions for each musical excerpt on the CDs."

Fanfare: Marc Mandel

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Maria Callas - Life and Art (2 CDs and 1 DVD).

Of all the epithets that have been applied to Maria Callas, ‘the tragic heroine’ is certainly one of the most apt in that it not only relates to the majority of the roles the great diva portrayed, but also reflects the unhappy way in which her personal life ended. The story of her relationship with the wealthy Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and its ill-fated outcome are told in the DVD Maria Callas – Life and Art included in this package, while extracts from her greatest dramatic roles are included in two audio CDs: Maria Callas – The Tragic Heroine and Maria Callas – The Romantic Heroine.

Track Details:

Compact Disc 1
MARIA CALLAS - The Tragic Heroine

1 Bellini: Norma - Casta Diva (Act I)
2 Donizetti: Anna Bolena - Al dolce guidami castel natio (Act II)
3 Verdi: Il trovatore - D'amor sull'ali rosee (Act IV)
4 Catalani: La Wally - Ebben? ne andrò lontana (Act I)
5 Giordano: Andrea Chénier - La mamma morta (Act III)
6 Puccini: La bohème - Donde lieta uscì (Act III)
7 Puccini: Tosca - Vissi d'arte (Act II)
8 Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana - Voi lo sapete o mamma
9 Boito: Mefistofele - L'altra notte in fondo al mare (Act III)
10 Puccini: Madama Butterfly - Un bel dì vedremo (Act II)
11 Puccini: Turandot - Signore, ascolta (Act I)
12 Puccini: Manon Lescaut - Sola, perduta, abbandonata (Act IV)
13 Ponchielli: La Gioconda - Suicidio! (Act IV)
14 Verdi: Aida - Ritorna vincitor! (Act I)
15 Bizet: Carmen - Carreau ! Pique ! (Card Scene) (Act III)
16 Massenet: Le Cid - De cet affreux combat...Pleurez, mes yeux ! (Act III)

Compact Disc 2
MARIA CALLAS - The Romantic Heroine

1 Bellini: La sonnambula - Compagne, teneri amici...Come per me sereno... Sovra il sen la man mi posa (Act I)
2 Bellini: I puritani - Son vergin vezzosa (Act 1)
3 Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor - Regnava nel silenzio...Quando rapito in estasi (Act I)
4 Verdi: Rigoletto - Gualtier Maldè...Caro nome (Act I)
5 Verdi: La traviata - Ah, fors'è lui (Act I)
6 Puccini: Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro
7 Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur - Ecco: respiro appena. Io son l'umile ancella (Act I)
8 Thomas: Mignon - Ah, pour ce soir...Je suis Titania (Act II)
9 Gounod: Roméo et Juliette - Ah ! Je veux vivre dans ce rêve (Act I)
10 Gounod: Faust - Un bouquet !...Ah ! je ris (Jewel Song) (Act III)
11 Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust - D'amour l'ardente flamme (Part IV)
12 Massenet: Werther - Werther ! Qui m'aurait dit...Des cris joyeux (Letter Scene) (Act III)
13 Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de perles - Me voilà seule...Comme autrefois (Act II) 14 Saint-Saens: Samson et Dalila - Printemps qui commence (Act I)
15 Charpentier: Louise - Depuis le jour ( Act III)

DVD - Disc 3
MARIA CALLAS - Life and Art

This wonderful and touching documentary gives a new insight into the character of Maria Callas. It celebrates her signing and dramatic skills, explores the woman behind the public persona and the conflict between her personal aims and her ambitions. Featured on the DVD are extracts from the following: Puccini - 'Vissi d'arte' from Tosca, Bellini - 'Casta Diva' from Norma, Rossini - 'Una voce poca fa' from Il barbiere di Siviglia, Bizet - 'Habanera' from Carmen, and others.

As an added bonus highlights from the Legendary 1962 Hamburg concert are included. Featured arias are:
1 Massenet: Le Cid - De cet affreux combat...Pleurez, mes yeux (Acte III)
2 Bizet: Carmen - Prélude; Habanera (Acte I); Entr'acte (Acte III); Séguidille (Acte I)
3 Verdi: Ernani - Surta è la notte...Ernani, involami (Atto I)
4 Rossini: La Cenerentola - Nacqui all'affanno e al pianto...Non più mesta (Atto II)
5 Verdi: Don Carlo - O don fatale, o don crudel (Atto III)
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Works on This Recording

1. 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 
Date of Recording: 1961 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2. Anna Bolena: Al dolce guidami castel natio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3. 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 
Date of Recording: 1957 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
4. 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 
Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5. Andrea Chénier: La mamma morta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
6. La Bohème: Donde lieta uscì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
7. 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 
Date of Recording: 1953 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
8. Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o Mamma by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Ebe Ticozzi (Mezzo Soprano), Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
9. Mefistofele: L'altra notte in fondo al mare by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 7 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
10. Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
11. Turandot: Signore, ascolta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
12. 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 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
13. 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 
Date of Recording: 1960 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
14. 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 
Date of Recording: 1972 
Length: 7 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
15. Carmen: Carreau, pique...la mort! by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Jane Berbié (Mezzo Soprano), Nadine Sautereau (Soprano), Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 1964 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
16. Le Cid: Pleurez, mes yeux! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Date of Recording: 1961 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins with the words, "De cet affreux combat."
This selection is a stereo recording. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Callas Reigns January 2, 2013 By PAUL V. (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "Excellent packaging of everything Callasiana! Documentary and booklet well worth having." Report Abuse
 beautiful woice August 30, 2012 By G. Kolbeinsson (800 Selfoss, Iceland) See All My Reviews "Beaautiful voice and wonderful arias." Report Abuse
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