Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Puccini, Carlo Felice Cillario, Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra|
Puccini: Tosca (complete opera live 1964) with Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi, Carlo Felice Cillario, Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Last great Tosca from Callas
Emma de Soleil | On a holiday In Ibiza, then back to the UK for stu | 06/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This live-performance was recorded in 1964 during the legendary run of the Zeffirelli-production of Puccini's Tosca featuring Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Unlike the studio-recording she made after this run this recording is a unique thrill with Callas and Gobbi burning up the stage. Both were past their primes then but still capable of electrifying performances. For example, listen to Callas' singing "Dillo ancora la parola chi consola... dillo ancora!" sounding enraptured, loving, glowing, beautiful... She portrays not only the diva Tosca but the tormented lover. Fragile, devoted, yet proud and sometimes spoiled but always loveable. In act one she creates an incredible tension as Scarpia plays cat and mouse with her, culminating in the outcry "GIURO!". So many details, one loses count, especially in the torment-scene of Act II. She shows that BREATHING can be a meaning of the drama, a lesson she learned from such greats as Serafin and Gui. Listen to "A mostro! AH..." How she takes a shocked, tortured breath underlining Tosca's fear... And so on. Yet there are problems too, as there always are with Callas after 1959. There's a wobble in some long phrases, the climactic B is unsteady and sometimes she's gasping for air. Still, her and Gobbi are as exciting as can be and there are many beauties to be found here too. If you wish to hear Callas' Tosca in her fullest prime buy the legendary recording she made in 1953, also issued by EMI. But this one deserves a special place in each and every opera-collection. As for the rest of the cast, you may know Cioni from Sutherland's first Lucia, he's an ardent, attractive Mario even though not as hot-blooded as di Stefano or Corelli. Cillario conducts wonderfully and the sound was cleaned up well by EMI. Not the best Tosca in the world but a damn good one!"
D. Faulk. | United States | 09/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the second Tosca I acquired. The first time I had it it was on loan, and I had only three days to absorb what I could. At the time I was pleasantly familiar with Gobbi, and intensely burrowed in Frank Hamilton's records of Callas's career, so I knew (since it also had di Stefano) that this was something I should remember to buy. In those three days, I found the glory of Tosca in a way I never had before.
In an uncharacteristically logical approach, I started at the beginning. This is one of only a few recordings in my collection (and there are hundreds therein) where you can listen from the beginning and not be turned away by the comprimarii. The Spoletta, the Sciarrone, the Pastore, the Sagrestano, all done extremely well.
And, why don't I talk about the love triangle?
- Gobbi: The best Scarpia in existence. See my other reviews for details.
- Cioni: Not the most vibrant Cavaradossi, but gives a performance that, like Baum in Aída, blows away any vocal prejudice I may have previously had.
- Callas: Simply La Divina. She gives what is in my humble opinion the only real interpretation of Callas in existence. At this point, in interviews, we can find that she has a better understanding of the emotions behind the role. (It's the only thing for which one can thank Onassis. No need to discuss Omero.) Callas has been described as an artist in every manner.
In any case, anyone who wants to see what Callas is about: don't go for one role, one recording, one setting, one conductor, one partner in crime. The only way to truly understand what she was and what she did is to take in it all. So pick a recording. Any recording. See what you think."