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Maria Callas (2CDs)

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Verdi: La Traviata
Maria Callas / Cesare Valletti / Mario Zanasi / Marie Collier
Forbes Robinson / Ronald Lewis / David Kelly
Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus / Nicola Rescigno, conductor
(Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 20 June 1958)

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Peter Heyworth in the Observer commented, 'it was a performance of outstanding distinction and musicality, full of details that illuminated again and again the part as though for the first time'. Opera News said, 'there must have been many Verdi lovers who felt at last that they had come face to face with Violetta herself...’ John Ardoin praised the conductor Nicola Rescigno who ‘brings sanity and song to the performance and was remarkably one with Callas in the ends she sought’. This 1958 recording broadcast live by the BBC’s Home Service has been remastered by Paul Baily using the ICA's Ambient Mastering process, which has enhanced and widened the sound considerably.

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GIUSEPPE VERDI 1813–1901

 

La traviata

Opera in three acts

Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave

 

Violetta ValéryMaria Callas

Flora BervoixMarie Collier

AnninaLea Roberts

Alfredo GermontCesare Valletti

Giorgio GermontMario Zanasi

suo padre · his father · son père · sein Vater

Gastone, Visconte de LetorièresDermot Troy

Barone DoupholForbes Robinson

Marchese d’ObignyRonald Lewis

Dottor GrenvilDavid Kelly

Doctor Grenvil · Le docteur Grenvil · Doktor Grenvil

 

Signori e signore amici di Violetta e Flora, servi di Violetta e Flora, maschere, commissionario

Lady and gentlemen friends of Violetta and Flora, servants of Violetta and Flora, maskers, messenger

Amis et amies de Violetta et Flora, domestiques de Violetta et Flora, masques, commissionnaire

Freunde und Freundinnen von Violetta und Flora, Diener von Violetta und Flora, Masken, Bote

 

The Covent Garden Opera Chorus

Chorus master: John McCarthy

The Covent Garden Orchestra

Nicola Rescigno

 

VERDI - La traviata - Act 1 Sempre Libera

Grade 
Martin Kendrick
08/Aug/2013

“The 1958 Covent Garden performance remains one of the most treasured 122 minutes in opera — ever!”

Operagasm

    Grade 
    Martin Kendrick
    08/Aug/2013

    “...this performance preserves what I believe to be by far the best souvenir we have of Callas as Violetta and for once she is properly supported by a distinguished cast. ”

    MusicWeb International

      Grade 
      Martin Kendrick
      08/Aug/2013

      “Don’t miss this one: sonics aside, it’s the only Traviata you’ll ever need.”

      Classics Today

        Grade 
        Martin Kendrick
        08/Aug/2013

        “Callas's most devoted admirers find this Covent Garden version, her last recorded Violetta, to be definitive. It is the performance I find myself listening to most frequently — both for pleasure and as an example of the role's possibilities when teaching young singers.”

        Opera News

          Grade 
          Martin Kendrick
          08/Aug/2013

          “The overall clarity of the sound is a pleasure, with the immediacy of Callas's vocal presence proving genuinely startling at first hearing.”

          Opera Magazine

            Grade 
            Martin Kendrick
            08/Aug/2013

            “This performance from Covent Garden is in better sounds than any of he others, and though it has been issued on various labels, this ICA Classics recording is the best I have heard.”

            BBC Music Magazine

              Grade 
              Martin Kendrick
              08/Aug/2013

              “Maria Callas's Violetta was one of the wonders of our age: scarily elemental, supernaturally brilliant. After many unofficial releases, the tape of her 20 June 1958 London performance has now been finely remastered as part of ICA Classics' initial releases. (An odd mistake in the booklet suggests this was a private tape, but it was actually a live BBC Home Service broadcast.) Callas sounds less full-voiced, more restrained, than in her 1958 Lisbon performance, but the combination of vocal depth and fragile, eloquent virtuosity is unbeatable and the emotional collapse across the three acts is heartbreaking. Cesare Valletti's Alfredo can't match Alfredo Kraus in Lisbon, but Nicola Rescigno's conducting lifts the performance to the highest level. A classic indeed.”

              The Observer

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