Search - Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber :: Mozart, Beethoven, Weber: Arias

Mozart, Beethoven, Weber: Arias
Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber
Mozart, Beethoven, Weber: Arias
Genres: Pop, Classical
 

      
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A MIXED BAG FROM CALLAS
lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 06/27/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This 1963 Callas recital is not easy to review or discuss. Callas was never associated with this music (though she did sing the Weber "Ocean" aria on several occasions in concert),though the Beethoven and Weber selections would have seemed to appeal to her sense of drama and emotion. Accordingly, these are the very selections that come off best on this recital. Both are demanding dramatic-soprano concert reperoire items (though the Weber is actually an operatic aria) that were undertaken by the likes of Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson, neither of which one would think of in terms of Callas. Still, Callas, even at this late stage of her career, had something very unique and interesting to bring to these arias. If she lacked the sheer vocal plentitude of the great sopranos noted above, she certainly had one quality that they lacked: the ability to set a scene before a listener and project it with power, conviction, and gut-wrenching feeling. And this she does (the effect, as one critic noted, was not unlike "biting into a very strong onion"!) in spades.She is also in more secure voice on these items than one would have expected at this time in her career. Oh sure, a few top notes here and there go off, but by and large, Callas' voice sounds solid and firmly based throughout both of these very lengthy vocal scenes. The Mozart is a different matter entirely. While her voice at this period could still ride over the huge orchestral waves of Beethoven and Weber, it became cruelly exposed in the music of Mozart. While the emotions and feelings of the Donnas Elvira and Anna could have been conveyed by Callas, their vocal demands could not, certainly not at this point in Callas' career. I consider the Mozart undertaken here one of the few failures by Callas. Still, if for only the exciting execution of the Beethoven and Weber (which constitutes close to two thirds of the recital), I would recommend this recording to anyone who hasn't heard these two arias before."