Late Callas?

This clip purports to reproduce Maria Callas’s singing in 1976, just over a year before she died. If the date is correct, I believe that her accompanist is Jeffrey Tate. The piece, incomplete, is Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah, perfido!”

Callas’s singing here, while not at the level of her great years, is vastly superior to what it was in the unlistenable Philips recordings of 1972 and the tour with di Stefano.

There is a recording supposedly of a practice session in 1977 which, again, finds Callas in relatively free and imposing voice. (That recording was kicking around YouTube, but I am unable to locate it now.)

If these snippets are accurately dated, then perhaps Tito Gobbi was right when he said that Callas never lost her voice, only her nerve.

What do you think? I find it hard to believe that the gasping, monumentally insecure Callas of the early 1970s could reclaim this much voice—but, again, Callas and many of her associates maintained that, to the end, she could sing well without the pressure of an audience.


  1. It's very good this 1976 recording of "Ah, perfido!"! I didn't know it yet. Thank you! :-)

    Maybe you won't believe, but I do like some of Callas's recordings from her tournée with Di Stefano. Although her voice wasn't the same anymore, there's a 'verità' in whichever she sang that we don't find in many singers, even in their best years.

    Is the recording you're talking about the one of "Deh, non m'abbandonar", from La Forza del Destino? I'm pretty sure I have it - audio only - in my computer. If you want, just tell me and I'll send it to you, ok?

    A recording I'd like to have again is that one from 1976, where Callas is singing (it seems like her voice) Schubert's "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai". Have you ever heard that one?

  2. Dear José Luiz: Thanks for your kind offer. Both the "Deh non m'abbandonar" and the Schumann were kicking around YouTube, and I just have to find them again. The Verdi is almost unbelievable: She is making what seems to be a big, clear, steady sound in fearsome tessitura! The Schumann to me sounds tentative because she's clearly ill at ease in German.