Notes and Editorial Reviews
"Callas studio-recorded this 1952 Gioconda after a series of performances in Verona, and her contribution is thrilling from both the vocal and interpretive standpoints, as is immediately evident in act I when she pleads for, and with Laura's help wins, her mother's release. Both this set and her 1959 stereo remake for EMI remain indispensable to Callas collectors, as well as to lovers of the opera. Conventional wisdom has it that the earlier set finds her approaching the role more instinctively, the later set with greater interpretive subtlety. That the remake happened at the time of her difficult marital breakup from Meneghini and the rejuvenating liaison with Onassis has provided fodder for psychological musings on the part of numerous writers. To my mind, none of that matters. If not vocally perfect in either set, Callas's Gioconda remains the prime interpretation of the role."
-- Marc Mandel, Fanfare, Reviewing La Giocanda
"with Callas we get glimpses of something magical. As ever with this singer, there is a trade-off between her artistic development and her voice; here we have her in superb voice but without all the heart-breaking depth of later recordings. But even in 1953, Callas could give many sopranos a run for their money in this role. Her shaping of phrase is truly notable and in Act 3 becomes quite moving."
-- Robert Hugill , MusicWeb International, Reviewing La Traviata