Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Complete Callas

Young Alex is starting to settle now so we've been having some free time in the evenings. We've been spending it plowing through the complete Extras box set as well as about 86 episodes of Property Ladder we have on the PVR. I also found some time to finally dig into a Christmas gift from generous in-laws: the 70 CD Maria Callas The Complete Studio Recordings boxed set.

I've ripped the first few discs to the iPod: the First Recital and La Giaconda. Listened to the first act a couple of nights ago. For a long time, it was an opera that was on my list of ones I should eventually get to (but after I do the ones I'm excited about). Yet again, I was a dimwit - as I started looking at it, two things struck me right away. First, frickin' Boito wrote the libretto and second it's from 1876 - i.e. post-Aida, post-Italian premiere of Lohengrin so kind of an interesting period for Italian opera. So why hadn't I listened to this before? The first act was great. I really need to revisit my "yeah, yeah, I'll get to it" list...

I haven't listened to the First Recital yet. Interestingly, the very first track in the Callas set is Wagner - the Liebestod from Tristan. Of course, it isn't Mild und leise but Dolce e calmo.

Here are the contents of the box. The remastering dates are from 1997 except where indicated.

  • The First Recital (1949, remastered 2007)
  • La Gioconda (1952, remastered 2007)
  • Lucia di Lammermoor (1953, remastered 2004)
  • I puritani (1953)
  • Cavalleria Rusticana (1953)
  • Tosca (1953, remastered 2002)
  • La traviata (1953, remastered 2007)
  • Norma (1954, remastered 2003)
  • Pagliacci (1954)
  • La forza del destino (1954)
  • Il turco in Italia (1954)
  • Puccini arias (1954)
  • Lyric and Coloratura arias (1954)
  • Callas at La Scala (1955)
  • Madama Butterfly (1955)
  • Aida (1955)
  • Rigoletto (1955)
  • Il trovatore (1956)
  • La bohème (1956)
  • Un ballo in maschera (1956)
  • Il barbiere di Siviglia (1957, remastered 2007)
  • La Sonambula (1957)
  • Turandot (1957)
  • Manon Lescaut (1957)
  • Medea (1957)
  • Verdi Arias I (1958)
  • Mad Scenes (1958)
  • Lucia di Lammermoor (1959)
  • La Gioconda (1959)
  • Norma (1960)
  • Callas à Paris I (1961)
  • Callas à Paris II (1963)
  • Mozart, Beethoven and Weber (1964)
  • Verdi Arias II (1964)
  • Rossini and Donizetti Arias (1963)
  • Carmen (1964)
  • Tosca (1964-5)
  • Verdi Arias III (1964-5/69)
  • The EMI Rarities (1953-1961)
  • The EMI Rarities (1962-1969)


Anonymous said...

Ha ha! I love Property Ladder, lol

Hope to hear some Callas on your blog....

richard Carsey said...

agree with you about GIOCONDA, this was my first exposure to the piece as well. wait till you get to the fourth act! tell me what you think about the digital transfer of the first LUCIA, there's some distortion on my set that makes me not so happy. The first recital is a treat despite the hissing and popping of the recorded sound. Glad to know someone else is making their way through this set as well!