Callas sings Bellini II

In late 1957, Maria Callas sang a concert at the Dallas Civic Opera that included arias from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Bellini’s I puritani, Verdi’s Macbeth and La traviata, and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.

Many claim that Callas’s voice was in precipitous decline in 1957, but neither her hair-raising Dallas program nor her supple, easy singing therein support that claim. The Dallas concert itself was not recorded, but the rehearsal was, and she sang the Puritani mad scene with her customary pathos and flair (the downward runs in particular sounding like cascades of diamonds). What’s more, she ended the scene with a huge high E-flat.

Her singing here—with a trusted colleague and friend, Nicola Rescigno, and without the pressure of a “gala” audience—to me suggests that Tito Gobbi was perhaps right. He opined that Callas, “desperately nervous” and a “vulnerable, lonely, elusive” creature, never lost her voice but lost her nerve.

Hear Maria Callas in other music by Bellini.

No comments:

Post a Comment