Callas in Ballo III

At Verdi Duecento, I posted some very interesting comments by Gabriele Baldini about Un ballo in maschera.

My thoughts naturally turned to Maria Callas, and I decided to revisit one of her “late” (post-Meneghini) recordings: Amelia’s Act III aria, “Morrò, ma prima in grazia,” from Ballo. Nicola Rescigno conducts, and the recording was made in April 1964.

I have two thoughts about this recording. First, if it is true, as some claim, that a “secret son” of Callas and Onassis died only three years before, then recording this aria must have been extremely trying for Callas.
I shall die, but first grant me the grace of pressing my only son to my breast. And if you deny this last favor to your wife, do not deny it to the pleas of my maternal heart. I shall die, but let his kisses console (the torment) inside me, now that the last of my fleeting hours has come. His hand will reach out over the eyes of his mother, killed by his father, whom he shall never see again!
Second, Callas is in splendid voice. Her tone is drenched in sadness, and her phrasing, while eloquent, seems so natural and inevitable.

I do have my doubts about the very last sovracuto. (Does anyone else find that it sounds spliced in?).

Still, what a pity that Callas would withdraw from the stage about a year later, and that her pride would not allow her to go on singing if she was no longer mistress of Norma, the most cruelly taxing of rôles.

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