Maria Callas as Armida

Dr. Robert Seletsky, a distinguished musical scholar, questions the attribution to Maria Callas of a “revival of forgotten repertoire and the performance traditions that accompanied it.”

He notes that many of the works cited to bolster this assertion (including Il Turco in Italia, Il pirata, and Anna Bolena) had been produced in the twentieth century before Callas took them up. He also takes issue with Callas’s “inauthentic” (modernist) approach to early Ottocento opera, entailing cuts, minimal ornamentation, and the interpolation of harmonically disfiguring tonic and dominant high notes.

In Seletsky’s view, Rossini’s Armida, which Callas sang under Tullio Serafin at the 1952 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, can be deemed “the only true Callas ‘revival.’” This YouTube clip, in wretched sound, brings us from that 1952 revival the opera’s most celebrated number,“D’amore al dolce impero.” Callas sings with staggering verve and audacity, and many critics believe that the recording documents one of the greatest nights in her career.

Callas returned to “D’amore al dolce impero” in a 1954 RAI concert and reportedly attempted a studio recording of it in 1960, though to the best of my knowledge no trace of it survives. In recent years, the aria has been taken up by Renée Fleming, Joyce di Donato (on disc only, for now), and others.

Related posts: Maria Callas in music by Rossini

No comments:

Post a Comment