Callas in Rigoletto

Had Gilda remained an active part of [Callas’s] repertory, she might well have made the public revalue this role as it did Lucia. Again she uncovered an unsuspected dramatic dimension by making Gilda an innocent whom circumstance transforms into a woman. She fashioned the part at the outset as an ingénue, not a soubrette, using what has been termed her “little girl voice,” a sound frequently heard in her Sonnambula, Lucia, and even in parts of Traviata. This unmistakable sound was created by a brightening of her dark timbre with a very forward placement of vowels and with little of the covered mixture of vowels and consonants she used in weightier parts.
John Ardoin and Gerald Fitzgerald, Callas
For some reason I am fixated right now on Callas’s use of portamento. Even bitchy Walter Legge praises “the seemingly inevitable timing of her portamentos” and the way she “var[ied] their curve with enchanting grace and meaning.“

Yes. And doesn’t this 1955 “Caro nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto spoil you for all other versions?

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