Callas in La traviata I

Video footage of Maria Callas in La traviata, shot in Lisbon in 1958.

Much of the video is unrevealing: Act IV is very dim indeed, and Callas barely moves, as befits a woman whose life and strength are ebbing away. However, at Flora’s party, take note of the moment when she sets eyes on Alfredo, starts, turns away, then composes herself to respond to Douphol—and the way she listens during the tense exchange between Alfredo and Douphol.

A word and a tear for Don Alfredo (Kraus), shown here at the beginning of his career. I was privileged to see and hear him in many of his greatest rôles, and I cannot imagine his ever being surpassed for grace, romance, and musicality. May he rest in peace in the bosom of Abraham.

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