Callas in La forza del destino II

Please excuse this personal excursus: A few days ago, I was feeling down about being unemployed. (By the way, I am a whiz in both old and new media, an expert communicator in three languages, an award-winning writer and blogger—and I have an ironclad work ethic. You or your company should hire me!)

Back to my tale: Down, unemployed. A tweep wrote and suggested that I get off the pity pot and listen to Maria Callas in “Madre, pietosa vergine from Verdi’s La forza del destino.

The tweep was right. Callas and Verdi healed me.
Ah, quei sublimi cantici,
Dell’organo i concenti,
Che come incenso ascendono
A Dio sui firmamenti,
Ispirano a quest’alma
Fede, conforto e calma!
“Ah, those sublime hymns and organ harmonies, rising like incense to G-d in heaven, inspire my soul with faith, comfort, and peace!”

Now what does this have to do with you, gentle and patient readers? Listening to this scene reminded me just how great this 1954 recording of Forza is.

I confess that I tend to neglect the set first, because the cuts offend me; and second, because one of the principal singers grates on my nerves. Callas though, is in breathtaking form, as you can hear in this scene.

She somehow captures all of the grandezza of Verdi’s music while remaining human and vulnerable. Listening to her, one is always aware that Donna Leonora is a terrified girl, perhaps still in her teens. Callas sings “Deh, non m’abbandonar” in an inward, pleading pianissimo, builds gradually to an epic, impassioned climax, and returns to a note of humility and supplication at the scene’s end.

While not a church-goer, Maria Callas prayed and was devoted to the Theotokos. Her faith may explain in part for the immense fervor she brings to this scene.

Listen, too, to Callas in “Pace, pace, mio Dio,” posted about a month ago.


  1. Nice post, thanks

  2. You are most welcome! Thanks for visiting and commenting.