Selected Messages from the La Divina Mailing List

In this archive there are 45 messages by 12 authors on a total of 26 subjects.

The subjects (in order of appearance), with links to messages on each subject, are:

 1. New Callas biography [5]: 1  15  16  17  18 
 2. Grove Music Offers: 2 
 3. Favorite Callas recordings [4]: 3  4  5  6 
 4. la-divina-digest V2 #3: 7 
 5. Buenos Aires: 8 
 6. Legendary Tosca video: 9 
 7. Callas Videos: 10 
 8. Callas on A&E Biography: 11 
 9. Callas on dvd: 12 
10. Callas video: 13 
11. Callas' last recording, etc.: 14 
12. I Live for Art: The Great Toscas: 19 
13. Callas: the youngest Tosca?: 20 
14. Operas Sung by Maria Callas: 21 
15. New Callas CD with her first "Casta diva"!: 22 
16. Callas' last recording: 23 
17. Callas' 1949 Turandot a forgery? [2]: 24  25 
18. 1955 Norma, etc.: 26 
19. 1955 Norma [5]: 27  28  29  30  31 
20. Armida [3]: 32  33  36 
21. "Enigma" song [2]: 34  35 
22. Un Ballo in Maschera; questions for Callas fans [2]: 37  38 
23. Callas and Kraus [2]: 39  40 
24. A sad day [2]: 41  42 
25. Another question for Callas fans: 43 
26. Mahler, German, link rot [2]: 44  45 



Message #1
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 13:20:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: New Callas biography
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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A few weeks ago, I finished reading the new biography of Callas, "Maria
Callas: Sacred Monster" by Stelios Galatopoulos. I was wondering if anyof you have read it yet, and what you thought of it. I thought it was wonderful, and I loved the pictures, many of which I hadn't seen before, especially the ones from the operas she sang in Athens when she was very young.

But I was a little disturbed by what Galatopoulos says about Callas' death. I don't know if I should say anything about it here, in case it would spoil things for people who haven't read the book yet. Anyway, it was something I hadn't read anywhere else. For those of you who've read the book, I'd be interesting in reading what you thought of it.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #2
From: "Therese Ng" <tng@xyz.to>
To: <la-divina@xyz.to>
Subject: Grove Music Offers
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:27:48 -0400
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Thought you would find this interesting...

To access complete, dowloadable articles from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (PDF format), read lengthy extracts on various music topics, or to see special offers on ALL Grove Music titles including the New Grove Dictionary of Opera (paperback and hardcover), please browse:

www.grovereference.com/grovemusic

If you'd like to be updated on Grove Music news (Opera Grove and the next edition of Music and Musicians are going online!) or special offers such as this, register your email address (we keep our list confidential) at:

http://www.grovereference.com/Register/TNGMMEmail.asp

Therese Ng tng@xyz.to http://www.grovereference.com



Message #3
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 13:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Favorite Callas recordings
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Thank you to everyone who responded to my message about the new Callas biography. Sounds like no one's read it yet, though. Anyway, I'd like to get the list going again, so I'd like to ask a question (and I'm sorry if this has already been discussed; if so, it was before I joined the list). What are your favorite Callas recordings? Here are some of mine:

Tosca - EMI, 1953 (my very favorite!!!)
Lucia - Berlin, 1955
Anna Bolena - La Scala, 1957
Medea - Dallas, 1958
Norma - EMI, 1960 (but I haven't heard the one from La Scala, 1955, which
is the one everyone talks about)
La Traviata - Lisbon, 1958 (the famous "Lisbon Traviata", but I haven't
heard the one from La Scala, 1955; is that one even better?)

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #4
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 02:09:13 +0800 (SGT)
To: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>, la-divina@smoe.org
From: Eric <elixir@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: Favorite Callas recordings
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Hi Vicki! Maybe I can share some of my thoughts on your favourite recordings as well as mine. Also you didn't mention why you like them!

>Tosca - EMI, 1953 (my very favorite!!!) I didn't hear this Tosca but I thought the 1965 one is very emotionally-charged. I saw the video footage of it performed in Covent Garden. Although flaws were showing in her voice already but it is compensated by its dramatic intensity and musicality of Callas.

>Lucia - Berlin, 1955 Never heard this one. Heard the 1959 one. I know there are plenty of high notes there and lots of coloratura. Perfect role for her.

>Anna Bolena - La Scala, 1957 Didn't hear this either

>Medea - Dallas, 1958 Not a popular opera but would like to hear it

>Norma - EMI, 1960 (but I haven't heard the one from La Scala, 1955, which
>is the one everyone talks about) Yes! I have that one! True musicianship with its subtle use of rubato and, notable is its dramatic singing. Like the fury part at the end of act one.

>La Traviata - Lisbon, 1958 (the famous "Lisbon Traviata", but I haven't
>heard the one from La Scala, 1955; is that one even better?) Yes, the 1958 Lisbon performance is a great document on Callas' vocal prowess. The top Ds are ringing and although the climatic top E ("pensier") in Sempre Libera is too piercing, the Traviata is evidence of a great dramatic artiste colouring each phrase with great effect. Heard the 1955 one, she sounds short of breath, a let down.

My favourite roles of her are Aida, Violetta (Traviata), Rosina (Barbiere), Lucia, Gioconda, Turandot, and suprisingly Carmen. Of cos not forgetting Norma and her other greats. Notice all are dramatic roles except Rosina and maybe Carmen. Its because she is a dramatic coloratura soprano, that's why I think she gets most out of these roles vocally and dramatically. I feel that light roles like Gilda (Rigoletto), La Sonnambula doesn't suit her. She is an aggressive singer and she expresses herself best that way. I've not heard her famous Aida ending with a top E in the finale scene. Which aria is it exactly?

Ciao Eric



Message #5
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 14:02:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: Jack Hall <JHall@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: Favorite Callas recordings
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Just can't resist adding a few cents' worth to comments by Vicki and Eric on favorite Callas recordings:

Two of my favorite Callas roles are Lady Macbeth and Abigaille, in Nabucco, since they so well and almost uniquely fit ger gifts as a dramatic coloratura, as Eric mentions. It's surely one of the greatest regrets of Callas fans that the only two "complete" recordings by her of those roles are in early live performances, with quite awful sound. Unfortunately, the recordings are so bad I find it difficult to appreciate even Callas in them. Another way at least to get a decent sample of her in those roles is to get the Verdi Arias album, conducted by Rescigno, which includes all three Lady Macbeth scenes and the Nabucco scene (as well as the terrific recordings from Ernani and Don Carlo.

Regarding the Lisbon Traviata: yes, it's good, but I also very much like the one from Covent Garden, with Cesare Valletti as a stylish Alfredo.

Eric says she is not so well suited for lighter roles like Gilda and Amina in Sonnambula. I can see what he means, ... and yet, she is still so terrific in them, especially in Sonnambula, I think. There are three (I think) Callas Sonnambulas, the studio one, the Cologne one, and the live La Scala one with Bernstein conducting (again, with Valletti), and it is a marvel — a really thrilling live performance full of "occasion." Unfortunately with rather poor sound — so beware.

Regarding Norma, there are the two studio recordings, of course, and several live ones. The La Scala one has been mentioned (with Simionato and Del Monaco), but the Rome Opera and the Covent Garden ones are wonderful, too. I especially like the one from Covent Garden, which catches her at more near her vocal peak (1952), and has Gui conducting. (Also, as a sort of curiosity, Joan Sutherland as Clotilde (!) I love to imagine the young Sutherland waiting in the wings to come on for her few brief lines, watching Callas, and (perhaps?) thinking "I'll be there some day." Stignani is the Adalgisa in the early studio one, as well as the Covent Garden and Rome ones. She definitely sounds too "mature" in the fifties, but still has "authority" and is at least strongly reminiscent of her glory days in the thirties (when she was Adalgisa to Gina Cigna's Norma on the first "complete" recording). There are also live Callas Normas from Mexico City and Trieste, but the sound is definitely inferior, as are the rest of the casts, generally, and I wouldn't recommend them, except to the die-hard Callas fan.

I also can't do without Callas in Trovatore and Ballo en Maschera (especially the latter). There is a studio and a live (La Scala) Ballo, pretty much the same, since they were done about the same time. Of course, the studio sound is better.

Jack Hall University of Houston Libraries jhall@xyz.to



Message #6
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 15:45:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Eric <elixir@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Favorite Callas recordings
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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To add a few more comments:

On Fri, 30 Apr 1999, Eric wrote:

> Hi Vicki! Maybe I can share some of my thoughts on your favourite
> recordings as well as mine. Also you didn't mention why you like them!

OK, I'll try:

> >Tosca - EMI, 1953 (my very favorite!!!)
> I didn't hear this Tosca but I thought the 1965 one is very
> emotionally-charged. I saw the video footage of it performed in Covent
> Garden. Although flaws were showing in her voice already but it is
> compensated by its dramatic intensity and musicality of Callas.

Yes!!! I love the video from Covent Garden (in fact, I was going to bring that up in my next message). It really is too bad they didn't film the whole opera. The 1953 Tosca has just as much dramatic intensity *and* Callas' voice is at its very best. And I loved the other performances on this recording (di Stefano and Gobbi); in fact, I can't think of one weakness on the whole recording.

> >Lucia - Berlin, 1955
> Never heard this one. Heard the 1959 one. I know there are plenty of high
> notes there and lots of coloratura. Perfect role for her.

I agree; it is a perfect role for her, and on this recording her voice is at its best. It's thrilling to listen to a live performance, and in this one the audience really gets involved. Part of the excitement is imagining what it must have been like, to be in the audience that night.

> >Anna Bolena - La Scala, 1957
> Didn't hear this either

I just got this for my birthday. Once again, it's a wonderful performance by everyone in the cast, not just Callas. I loved Simionato, and the way her voice and Callas' voice blend together in their duet.

> >Medea - Dallas, 1958
> Not a popular opera but would like to hear it

This is incredibly intense! A wonderful, emotional performance.

> >Norma - EMI, 1960 (but I haven't heard the one from La Scala, 1955, which
> >is the one everyone talks about)
> Yes! I have that one! True musicianship with its subtle use of rubato and,
> notable is its dramatic singing. Like the fury part at the end of act one.

I love Callas as Norma. Wasn't it her favorite role? The 1960 recording has great performances by Corelli and Christa Ludwig, too. But since I like Simionato so much, I can't wait to get the 1955 performance. All I have of it is the duet "Mira o Norma" on a CD that comes with a biography of Simionato.

> >La Traviata - Lisbon, 1958 (the famous "Lisbon Traviata", but I haven't
> >heard the one from La Scala, 1955; is that one even better?)
> Yes, the 1958 Lisbon performance is a great document on Callas' vocal
> prowess. The top Ds are ringing and although the climatic top E ("pensier")
> in Sempre Libera is too piercing, the Traviata is evidence of a great
> dramatic artiste colouring each phrase with great effect. Heard the 1955
> one, she sounds short of breath, a let down.

I have to say the "Lisbon Traviata" will always be special to me because it's the first recording of Callas in a complete opera that I ever heard.

> My favourite roles of her are Aida, Violetta (Traviata), Rosina (Barbiere),
> Lucia, Gioconda, Turandot, and suprisingly Carmen. Of cos not forgetting
> Norma and her other greats.
> Notice all are dramatic roles except Rosina and maybe Carmen. Its because
> she is a dramatic coloratura soprano, that's why I think she gets most out
> of these roles vocally and dramatically. I feel that light roles like Gilda
> (Rigoletto), La Sonnambula doesn't suit her. She is an aggressive singer
> and she expresses herself best that way. I've not heard her famous Aida
> ending with a top E in the finale scene. Which aria is it exactly?

Yes, I love her as Rosina and Carmen, too; I just forgot to mention those. Also, I thought she was great in Trovatore. I don't have her as Aida, but I do have an excerpt with her singing the top E at the end of Act 2. It's on a set of CDs about Callas called "Callas In Her Own Words".

This brings me to my next question. I've been trying to get the Mexico City performance of Aida for a long time, but everyone tells me it's out of stock. I've tried Berkshire Record Outlet, H&B Direct, Amazon.com, and Borders. Do you know of any other place that might have it? All I could find was a big set with all of her Mexico City performances, but I'd rather get it separately.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #7
Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 14:31:06 -0400
From: lcosta@xyz.to (Louis P. Costa)
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: la-divina-digest V2 #3
References: <199905040825.EAA27001@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Hi Vicki

I understand Video Online Express is offering "I Live for Art - The Great Toscas" (1978) in VHS for under 30 bucks. Not having seen it, I wonder if it includes footage not already incorporated into the other popular videos and films that feature Callas: the Covent Garden, Hamburg, and Tokyo concerts; the Palmer, Ardoin, and Lewens-Mitchell documentaries; and the curious Dreamlife DVD that includes the rare, unattributed clip from Norma.

Hi Eric

Biography.com has a short squib, but I would point you to Zeffirelli's autobiography, published by Arena in 1986 and now out of print, but certainly available in libraries and used book stores. For more up-to-date info, you might consult the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, which is soon to go online, I understand.

Best, Lou Costa Boxford, MA, USA louis.costa@xyz.to



Message #8
From: "michel ottesen" <michel.ottesen@xyz.to>
To: "Facundo M. Gonzαlez Alvaredo" <fgonz@xyz.to>,<la-divina@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: Buenos Aires
Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 21:02:09 +0200
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Hi Facundo

I have just read this article and I've no doubt you will find it interesting :

"I managed to visit the home of a devoted Callasiano by the name of Pablo Berruti. Pablo has been collecting Maria's recordings for some time now and has many original tapes (and I do mean originals, not copies). He has just added to his collection the original recording of part of the 1949 gala for the 133rd anniversary of the Argentina republic. The tracks are the Argentina national anthem, NORMA ouverture, 'Ite sull colle', 'Norma viene', 'Casta diva' scene, Helena Armenzendi singing the FAUST 'Roi de Thule...Ah! Je ris'. The sound is truly wonderful. Pablo also has a lead on the complete 1949 TURANDOT from Buenos Aires, and is both optimistic and cautious about actually getting it. He has his own CD label (DIVINA) which prides itself on presenting all known material in the best possible sound -without the sound being jigged about with a la EMI etc, and presenting the recordings totally complete including all applause, not filling in gaps with other performances - etc,etc. The discs are not available commercially, but are produced individually to order.

John ARDOIN, still considered today as the most accurate source (opinions as to his true honourable intentions vary) also dates the Buenos Aires performances 1949. (Turandot: 20may 1949; Norma: 17 June 1949). Excerpts of these performances exist. (Eklipse 44 & 33).

As for the TOSCA videos :

I know two excerpts are commercially available :

Paris 1958 Covent Garden 1964

Both are EMI, so you should be able to find these quite easily.

Other footage exists but I have not seen it yet.

Michel.

Ps: thanks Vicky for getting this started ( You simply must hear the '55 LaScala Norma)



Message #9
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 10:33:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Legendary Tosca video
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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This is for fgonz@indec.mecon.ar. Sorry to send it to the whole list, but my message bounced back:

The legendary Tosca video is available from http://www.amazon.com. It's called "Maria Callas at Covent Garden". Unfortunately, it's Act 2 only, but it is absolutely incredible! An amazing performance!

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #10
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 07:12:55 -0400
From: lcosta@xyz.to (Louis P. Costa)
To: la-divina@xyz.to (La Divina)
Subject: Callas Videos
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Hello Facundo

If you visit Frank Hamilton's wonderful web site at http://callas.simplenet.com/ you will find the answer to your question and thousands more. It's an essential resource for Callas fans. Good Luck.

Best, Lou Costa Boxford, MA, USA louis.costa@xyz.to



Message #11
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 08:40:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas on A&E Biography
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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So, what did you think of the A&E Biography on Callas last night? I had mixed feelings about it. At least it was new, and not a heavily-cut version of one I had seen already. And there was more about her singing, and less about her affair with Onassis, than I thought there would be. But *so* much was left out. Of course, you can't put everything into 50 minutes (or whatever). But I just felt like something was missing. I did enjoy the interviews with Shirley Verrett, Beverly Sills, John Ardoin, and other people who knew Callas... well, what there was of them, anyway. Again, I felt like there should have been more. Also, did you notice that they played the "Nina Foresti" excerpt without even mentioning the possibility that it wasn't Callas? (I happen to think there's a strong possibility that it was, but that's beside the point. What I'm saying is that a lot of people think it wasn't, and they should have mentioned that.)

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #12
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 11:43:40 -0400
From: lcosta@xyz.to (Louis P. Costa)
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Callas on dvd
References: <199905170825.EAA01389@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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> Are there any other dvd sightings? What are they waiting for?

None of Callas, to my knowledge. But then, where's the motivation? Callas laserdiscs sold poorly, even DVD technology can't improve low quality source material much beyond what's already available, and there simply isn't very much visual source material of Callas to work with. Guess we'll have to settle for reissues (if any), documentaries and historical compilations which include other artists, and perhaps the future Callas bioflik starring Madonna.

To sample what DVD can do for new opera productions, see "Turandot in the Forbidden City" (published by BMG Classics and available from Music Boulevard) and review postings on Opera DVDs in the Opera-L archives via http://mindspring.com/~jaredmarkw/search.htm

Best, Lou Costa Boxford, MA, USA louis.costa@xyz.to



Message #13
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 08:29:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas video
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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I recently watched a video from Bel Canto Society called "Callas Reveals Herself". It is wonderful! It begins with the scene from Tosca with Callas and George London, which was on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. I had never seen the whole scene before; all I had seen was the "Vissi d'arte" on another video. It was intense; I thought Callas' acting was not what it was at Covent Garden, but I was amazed how much was the same. (The expression on her face when she's placing the candles around Scarpia's body, for example.)

Anyway, the video ends with an interview with Callas from 1974, with Barbara Walters. From what I've read, this interview was made for NBC-TV, but never shown. I was wondering: do any of you know why it was never shown? The interview was heartbreaking; Callas sounded so sad and confused.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #14
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 10:40:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas' last recording, etc.
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I have a question about Callas' last recording. It says on the CD (and I have read this in other places) that Callas was accompanying herself at the piano. But someone on this list told me that it was Jeffrey Tate. I asked him where he read that, and never got an answer. So, I'll ask the rest of you: have you also read that it was Jeffrey Tate at the piano? If so, where did you see this?

Also, I just finished reading a "biography" of Callas by her cousin, Steven Linakis. Have any of you read this? I put "biography" in quotation marks because the book reads like a novel and, to tell the truth, I have a hard time believing a lot of the things Linakis says in it. He tells stories about her life in Athens during the war and I have no idea if they're true or not; he wasn't there at the time, and I just have a feeling he's making a lot of it up. Not to mention the fact that he gets a lot of dates wrong (he says she sang Fidelio in 1941, when she didn't sing it until 1944, for example). Anyway, Callas comes out as a horrible person who treated other people (especially her mother) very badly. And it's interesting that Linakis always seems to side with Callas' mother, when he was related to her on her father's side of the family.

Linakis says that he lived with Callas' family in New York before she left for Greece. But I have read in other places that Callas met Linakis only once. Do you know if it's true that Linakis lived with Callas' family? I have a hard time believing Linakis, but that's just my opinion. This book just made me angry, I guess.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #15
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 18:00:42 +0200
To: la-divina@xyz.to
From: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: New Callas biography
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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Vicki Kondelik wrote on 23 Apr 1999:

>A few weeks ago, I finished reading the new biography of Callas, "Maria
>Callas: Sacred Monster" by Stelios Galatopoulos. I was wondering if any
>of you have read it yet, and what you thought of it. I thought it was
>wonderful, and I loved the pictures, many of which I hadn't seen before,
>especially the ones from the operas she sang in Athens when she was very
>young.

I've just finished reading it, and I too think it is wonderful. Not only did the book increse my admiration for Callas (already high) but I came away with admiration for the author, who seems to have a good understanding of human psychology.

Funnily enough, a few days ago I dreamt I was in Italy, having lunch with Callas's husband, Battista Menghini, saying to him that it must have been wonderful to be living with Callas at the height of her career. He agreed.

>But I was a little disturbed by what Galatopoulos says about Callas'
>death. I don't know if I should say anything about it here, in case it
>would spoil things for people who haven't read the book yet. Anyway, it
>was something I hadn't read anywhere else. For those of you who've read
>the book, I'd be interesting in reading what you thought of it.

There are a couple of aspects of Callas' death which might be behind this remark, but the only thing which disturbed me in Galatopoulos' account of the circumstances surrounding Callas's death and consequent events was the degree of idiocy apparently exhibited by Callas' sister in failing to supervise Callas' financial legacy. According to Galatopoulos she turned up at the funeral and basically believed what she was told, and continued to be believe what she was told (and do what she was told to do) for years afterwards, with the result that the million dollars or so that Callas had intended to be used for a Callas Foundation to help young singers was basically stolen.

Regards, Peter Meyer



Message #16
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 13:27:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: New Callas biography
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
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What I was talking about was the role Vasso Devetzi played in all this. I might be reading it wrong, but it seems to me that Galatopoulos practically accuses Devetzi of being responsible for Callas' death. (Did any of you get this impression as well?) I had never heard this theory before, and it surprised and disturbed me. Yes, I'm also surprised by Callas' sister's behavior; she seems to have trusted Devetzi too much. It sounds like Devetzi pretended she was her friend and then cheated her out of a fortune.

By the way, Peter, I think your Callas site is great! :-)

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to

On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Peter Meyer wrote:

> There are a couple of aspects of Callas' death which might be behind
> this remark, but the only thing which disturbed me in Galatopoulos'
> account of the circumstances surrounding Callas's death and
> consequent events was the degree of idiocy apparently exhibited by Callas'
> sister in failing to supervise Callas' financial legacy. According to
> Galatopoulos she turned up at the funeral and basically believed what she
> was told, and continued to be believe what she was told (and do what
> she was told to do) for years afterwards, with the result that the
> million dollars or so that Callas had intended to be used for
> a Callas Foundation to help young singers was basically stolen.
>
> Regards,
> Peter Meyer



Message #17
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 20:10:16 +0200
To: la-divina@xyz.to
From: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: New Callas biography
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Vicki Kondelik wrote:

>What I was talking about was the role Vasso Devetzi played in all this.
>I might be reading it wrong, but it seems to me that Galatopoulos
>practically accuses Devetzi of being responsible for Callas' death. (Did
>any of you get this impression as well?) I had never heard this theory
>before, and it surprised and disturbed me.

Yes, Vasso Devetzi comes across as the culprit. I did not get the impression the Galatopoulos "practically accuses Devetzi of being responsible for Callas' death". He says that the most likely cause of death was heart failure, and offers several reasons why her heart may have failed, without, it seems to me, inclining to one rather than another. There is the suggestion that Callas made use of Mandrax (methaqualone), which of course she had every right to do if that's what she wished to do, but an increased susceptibility to heart attack is not a side effect of this drug (see http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/alcohol-otherdrugs/pube/straight/sedative.htm#Mandrax for short- and long-term effects).

>Yes, I'm also surprised by
>Callas' sister's behavior; she seems to have trusted Devetzi too much. It
>sounds like Devetzi pretended she was her friend and then cheated her out
>of a fortune.

Exactly, but Iakinthy seems to have been uncommonly naive. She turns up for the funeral and finds that the official next-of-kin is someone she never met before. Devetzi says "leave it all to me" and Iakinthy says "sure". Devetzi divides up Maria's possessions to be split between Menghini and Iakinthy then tells Iakinthy that Menghini stole most of her (Iakinthy's) share. Devetzi persuades Iakinthy to leave all affairs regarding the Callas Foundation in her (Devetzi's) hands, and Iakinthy says "fine, don't bother me with the details". Iakinthy signs over hundreds of thousands of dollars to Devetzi without bothering to check what she's doing with the money. Eventually, when Devetzi dies under unusual circumstances, we find, according to Galatopoulos, that the money (apparently between one and two million dollars) has been squandered.

Of course, Callas might have taken the precaution of leaving her will with her lawyer rather than in her apartment where it could be stolen by Devetzi. But she probably wasn't expecting to die suddenly and so was lax in this respect.

>By the way, Peter, I think your Callas site is great! :-)

Thanks, Vicki. You can tell I'm a devotee. I'd say that Callas was the most remarkable woman of the 20th Century, and an inspiration to anyone who studies her life and career.

Regards, Peter Meyer



Message #18
Precedence: first-class
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 16:27:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: New Callas biography

Well, he also says that Callas became dependent on a pill (I don't remember if it's the one you mentioned or not) that only Devetzi could get for her because it was illegal. Also, it sounds like Devetzi was responsible for some kind of cover-up. Wasn't she the one who had Callas cremated, before an autopsy could be done, even though it was against Callas' religion? Also, there's that mysterious incident when Callas' ashes were stolen from the Paris cemetery. It all sounds suspicious to me.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to

On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Peter Meyer wrote:

> Yes, Vasso Devetzi comes across as the culprit. I did not get the
> impression the Galatopoulos "practically accuses Devetzi of being
> responsible for Callas' death". He says that the most likely cause
> of death was heart failure, and offers several reasons why her heart
> may have failed, without, it seems to me, inclining to one rather
> than another. There is the suggestion that Callas made use of
> Mandrax (methaqualone), which of course she had every right to do
> if that's what she wished to do, but an increased susceptibility to
> heart attack is not a side effect of this drug (see
> http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/alcohol-otherdrugs/pube/straight/sedative.htm#Mandrax
> for short- and long-term effects).



Message #19
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 11:38:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: I Live for Art: The Great Toscas
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I was finally able to get a copy of the video "I Live for Art: The Great Toscas" that I mentioned a few months ago. It is wonderful! No film clips of Callas that I hadn't seen before, though; they all came from her debut in Paris. But I loved this film; it includes interviews with 15 great Toscas including Tebaldi, Caballe, Bumbry, Olivero, Nilsson, Rysanek, Milanov, Te Kanawa, and Eva Turner, who was 91 at the time this film was made (1983, I think). There are wonderful film clips of the singers singing "Vissi d'arte", besides the historical film clips of Callas and Maria Jeritza. Also, Bumbry pays Callas a compliment; she says Callas was the greatest Tosca of all. Then, one of the singers (I forget who) says that Callas found out that Tosca wouldn't have worn a tiara in Act II. An unmarried woman wouldn't have worn a tiara while singing before the queen. Wow! This really shows you how much research Callas did while preparing her roles. I had read before that Callas really studied her roles, but I hadn't heard that particular story before.

It's also interesting that the singers who were interviewed on this video said that sopranos shouldn't sing Tosca when they're too young. And Callas sang it when she was 18! That is amazing. But I know some people say that singing Tosca so young (as well as roles like Fidelio and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana) contributed to her vocal decline. I don't know; what do you think about this?

Anyway, "I Live for Art" is a wonderful video; too bad it's so hard to find. It's definitely worth it!

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #20
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 11:20:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas: the youngest Tosca?
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I was thinking about Callas singing Tosca at 18 (some sources say 17) and I wondered: do any of you know if Callas was the youngest Tosca ever?

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #21
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 11:21:23 +0200
To: la-divina@xyz.to
From: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
Subject: Operas Sung by Maria Callas
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Ever wondered which operas Callas peformed most often in? Now you can find out by visiting http://www.serendipity.li/callas/operas.html where the operas in which she performed (all forty of them) are listed in order of the number of times she performed them.

For those too lazy to check:
Norma - 84 times
La Traviata - 58
Tosca - 55
Lucia di Lammermoor - 43

Regards, Peter Meyer



Message #22
From: "DIVINA RECORDS" <pberruti@xyz.to>
To: <la-divina-digest@xyz.to>
Subject: New Callas CD with her first "Casta diva"!
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 00:24:50 -0300
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Dear LA-DIVINA listers,

Our new disc: DVN-12 MARIA CALLAS: THE UNKNOWN TEATRO COLON RECORDINGS is now available.

It is a pressed disc that includes a twenty-eight page booklet (Spanish/English) with complete reviews and unknown photographs.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
     NORMA
     June 17, 1949
     Conducted by Tullio Serafin
     Rafael Terragnolo, Chorus Master
1 • Overture   [5.41]
2 • I te sul colle   [8.43]
     Oroveso / Chorus
3 • Oh, rimembranza!...
     Ah si, fa core, abracciami   [7.58]
     Norma / Adalgisa
     Norma: Maria Callas
     Adalgisa: Fedora Barbieri
     Oroveso: Nicola Rossi-Lemeni

GALA CONCERT (PART ONE) 133rd Aniversary of Argentine Independence July 9, 1949 4 • Radio commentary [1.49] Introduction to the concert 5 • Argentine National Hymn [4.07] Chorus of the Conservatorio Municipal Manuel de Falla Conducted by Héctor Panizza 6 • Radio commentary [2.55] Introduction to Norma scene NORMA Conducted by Tullio Serafin Rafael Terragnolo, Chorus Master 7 • Overture [5.19] 8 • Norma viene [4.09] Chorus 9 • Sediziose voci [4.13] Norma / Oroveso / Chorus 10 • Casta diva [6.38] Norma / Chorus 11 • Ah! bello a me ritorna [2.42] Norma / Chorus Norma: Maria Callas Oroveso: Nicola Rossi-Lemeni FAUST (sung in Italian) Conducted by Héctor Panizza 12 • Radio commentary [2.43] Introduction to Faust arias 13 • Come vorrei saper del giovin... C’era un re, un re di Thulé... E strano, poter il viso suo veder [9.17] Marguerite: Helena Arizmendi ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Also available: DVN-1 THE UNKNOWN RECORDINGS Vol. 1 DVN-2 TOSCA (London, July 5, 1965) DVN-3 NORMA (Trieste, November 19, 1953) DVN-4 THE UNKNOWN RECORDINGS Vol. 2 DVN-5 LONDON FAREWELL CONCERT (Nov. 26, 1973) DVN-6 LA SONNAMBULA (Edinburgh, August 26, 1957) DVN-7 NORMA Act 1 (Rome, January 2, 1958) DVN-8 LA SONNAMBULA (Cologne, July 6, 1957) DVN-9 LA SONNAMBULA (Edinburgh, August 21, 1957) DVN-10 THE LAST NORMAS Vol. 1 (Paris, May 21 & 14, 1965) DVN-11 IFIGENIA IN TAURIDE (Milan, June 1, 1957) DVN-13 THE MASTERCLASSES Vol. 1 (New York, 1971) DVN-14 THE MASTERCLASSES Vol. 2 (New York, 1971/72)

Best regards,

Pablo D. Berruti DIVINA RECORDS pberruti@xyz.to www.divinarecords.com

NOW you can hear AUDIO SAMPLES from each Divina Records CD !!! at www.divinarecords.com



Message #23
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 10:57:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas' last recording
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I just listened to a wonderful new CD called "Callas: Rare and Unreleased". This CD includes a very brief recording that's even later than Callas' "last" recording that I mentioned a while ago. The one I mentioned before was from 1976; this is from August 1977, only about a month before she died. It's very short; less than a minute, I think. (The CD doesn't give the timing.) I can't really tell from so brief a recording what condition Callas' voice was in, but it seemed to me that her voice had actually improved since 1974. (There are also excerpts from some of her 1974 concerts on this CD.) I certainly thought it sounded better than the 1976 recording. I could be completely wrong, though. By the way, in the 1977 recording, Vasso Devetzi accompanies her on the piano, and I thought that was very upsetting to listen to, after what I read about Devetzi in Galatopoulos' new biography of Callas.

Going back to my question about Callas as the youngest Tosca: I was reading the archives of an e-mail list called Vocalist; this list is meant for singers, so I'm not a member, and most of the technical discussions go way over my head, but I saw a message from a girl who was 16 at the time she wrote it (this was last year); she said she wanted to sing Vissi d'arte at her high school concert. Other people responded (some very rudely, I thought), saying that any teacher who lets a girl sing Vissi d'arte at 16 must be crazy. Someone said, "don't go near Vissi d'arte for at least another ten years". I immediately thought of Callas, who sang not just Vissi d'arte, but the whole role of Tosca, when she was not much older than this girl. This discussion on Vocalist made it seem even more likely that Callas was the youngest Tosca. And it makes me think, even more, that singing Tosca and other heavy roles so young contributed to Callas' vocal decline.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #24
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 10:40:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Callas' 1949 Turandot a forgery?
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

There has been some discussion on OPERA-L about whether or not Callas' "live" recording of Act 2 of Turandot from Buenos Aires in 1949 was a forgery. I am not talking about the recently-released CD from Divina Records, which is authentic (and which I'm still planning to buy); I'm talking about a recording that's been around for a while, of Act 2 of Turandot with Callas and del Monaco. If you're not on OPERA-L, you can still read the discussion on the archive; just go to http://listserv.cuny.edu/archives/opera-l.html and click on August 1999, week 3. I just wanted to know what you thought about this.

I don't have this recording, except for a tiny excerpt on a set of CDs about Callas, so I can't really comment, but it seems that a Callas scholar discovered that this supposed "live" recording was really a very clever forgery, spliced together from three different studio recordings: Callas' 1954 Puccini arias, Callas' 1957 complete Turandot, and another complete Turandot recording with del Monaco and Inge Borkh. Supposedly, static and audience noises were added later, to make it seem like a live recording.

But then somebody else said that this recording is not a forgery; he says this is definitely Callas' voice as it sounded in 1949, not 1954 or 1957.

So, if you have this recording, I'd like to know what you think about this.

By the way, I'd like to tell you what my first reaction was to those messages on OPERA-L. Coincidentally, I had just been listening to Callas' 1957 Turandot! I saw the subject line: "Callas' Turandot a forgery" or something like that (no 1949; just "Callas' Turandot"), and I thought, "Oh, no, are they going to tell me that wasn't Callas?" (in the 1957 recording) "of course it was Callas!" Then I read the message and realized what it was about. :-)

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #25
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 13:14:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Lycia Collins <lycia.collins@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Callas' 1949 Turandot a forgery?
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Well, I tried a little experiment last night; I played the little piece of this recording that I have (part of "In questa reggia") back-to-back with the "In questa reggia" on the 1954 Puccini Arias, which is where the people on OPERA-L say it was taken from. They sounded the same to me. Now, I don't have the finely-tuned ears that some of these people have, :-) so I could be completely wrong. Also, I was a little suspicious of the background noise; as someone on OPERA-L said, I thought it sounded like people moving heavy boxes around.

On Fri, 20 Aug 1999, Lycia Collins wrote:

> I've read that comparisons with del Monaco's studio recording reveal differences
> in how he sings some notes, so it isn't from that recording.

Now, I don't have any of del Monaco's music from the so-called "forgery", so I can't tell. But someone on OPERA-L has said that the high C doesn't sound like del Monaco at all; it could be another tenor whose voice was spliced in, and that someone who was at the 1949 performance said del Monaco didn't sing the high C that night.

> I would agree on 1949, this is a much more powerful and less subtle voice than
> Callas was employing in 1954 or 57
>
> > So, if you have this recording, I'd like to know what you think about
> > this.

Also, somebody said that they could have taken Callas' 1954 recording and altered it to make it sound like her 1949 voice.

Lycia: I have complete respect for your opinion; I'm just throwing outsome other possibilities that I've seen on OPERA-L. Actually, I do hope the recording is genuine. Because if it was, wouldn't it be Callas' earliest recording? (Unless you count the "Nina Foresti" excerpt, which I do, but I know some of you don't. But that's a completely different matter...) By the way, I love your Art of Maria Callas site! It is wonderful!

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #26
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 11:35:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: 1955 Norma, etc.
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I finally bought a copy of Callas' 1955 Norma, live from La Scala, with Simionato and del Monaco. It is an amazing performance! A great big THANK YOU to everyone who recommended this recording! I can tell that this will be one of my favorites. I still love the 1960 studio recording with Ludwig and Corelli, but I think it doesn't have the excitement of this performance. And, of course, Callas' voice was in much better shape in 1955. :-) (Not that I think her 1960 voice was as bad as some people say it was.) I love the way Callas' and Simionato's voices blend together; it is so beautiful! The two of them together were incredible.

By the way, in case anyone is still interested, the discussion about the 1949 Turandot "forgery" is still going on at OPERA-L. Just go to http://listserv.cuny.edu/archives/opera-l.html and click on August 1999, week 4 (or week 3 for the original messages). Unfortunately, I think the discussion has turned into a shouting match, which seems to happen so often on OPERA-L. That's why I hardly ever post to OPERA-L. :-) I just ordered a copy of the "forged" recording, so I can make a better comparison between that and the 1954 Puccini Arias and 1957 complete Turandot. Right now, I just have one little excerpt from the "forged" recording.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #27
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 11:50:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: 1955 Norma
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Someone told me that the first 15 minutes of the 1955 La Scala Norma were actually taken from another performance. Is this true? I had never heard that before. If it was, could you tell me which performance? And it wasn't any of Callas' music, right? I don't think she makes her entrance till more than 15 minutes into the opera.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #28
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:53:36 -0400
From: William Fregosi <odysseus@xyz.to>
To: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>, la-divina@smoe.org
Subject: Re: 1955 Norma
References: <Pine.SOL.4.10.9908291147530.9445-100000@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

As I understand it, what really is dubbed in from another performance is del Monaco, who was singing that night anyway but the tape of his aria was damaged either by the recording party or because of transmission flaws. The Flavio is different while the Oroveso is the same. I have heard flawed transcriptions of this performance, with del Monaco way off pitch because of tape speed problems, and much prefer whatever Gala did on their very clean-sounding release. No part of Callas' performance seems to have been touched.

Bill Fregosi



Message #29
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 13:42:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: 1955 Norma
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Thank you to everyone who responded to my question about the 1955 Norma. It sounds like the first 15 minutes came from a 1965 performance with Gencer. (I wonder why they chose this performance; couldn't they at least have chosen another Callas performance?) I have to say that, even though it didn't affect any of Callas' music, the whole thing bothers me because there is absolutely *nothing* about this, either on the CD box or in the booklet. I think they should have said something. The one I have is from Gala; I know that other labels have released this recording as well. Do any of the others say anything about this?

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #30
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 19:59:31 -0400
From: William Fregosi <odysseus@xyz.to>
To: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
CC: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: 1955 Norma
References: <Pine.SOL.4.10.9908301339080.26397-100000@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Vicki J. Kondelik wrote:

>
> It sounds like the first 15 minutes came from a 1965 performance with
> Gencer. (I wonder why they chose this performance; couldn't they at least
> have chosen another Callas performance?)

Why should that matter? The Callas sections were not the problem. only del Monaco's aria. It was replaced with another del Monaco performance and whether that performance had gone on to include Gencer or Callas seems irrelevant.

I certainly DO agree about disclosure. In the case of the Gala set, I would say that disclosing the substitution would be a point of pride as the Gala set has a fine del Monaco performance at the proper pitch, unlike some of the other releases of this performance. But in all cases where something is patched in from another live performance (we all accept that studio recordings are patched to a fare-thee-well) there should absolutely be full disclosure and an

explanation.

Bill Fregosi



Message #31
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 08:10:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: William Fregosi <odysseus@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: 1955 Norma
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I guess it doesn't. I was just upset about the whole thing. People kept telling me about this legendary performance, then I finally got a copy and absolutely loved it. And then I found out that it wasn't even all from the same performance. The fact that it wasn't even a Callas performance that was used was just the last straw.

I certainly think they should have said something about it on the CD. It sounds almost like false advertising to me. Well... maybe not really false advertising. But there's something dishonest about it.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to

On Mon, 30 Aug 1999, William Fregosi wrote:

>
> Why should that matter? The Callas sections were not the problem. only del
> Monaco's aria. It was replaced with another del Monaco performance and
> whether that performance had gone on to include Gencer or Callas seems
> irrelevant.
>
> I certainly DO agree about disclosure. In the case of the Gala set, I would
> say that disclosing the substitution would be a point of pride as the Gala
> set has a fine del Monaco performance at the proper pitch, unlike some of the
> other
> releases of this performance. But in all cases where something is patched in
> from another live performance (we all accept that studio recordings are
> patched to a fare-thee-well) there should absolutely be full disclosure and an
>
> explanation.
>
> Bill Fregosi
>



Message #32
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 11:07:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Armida
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Yesterday I found a copy of Callas' recording of Rossini's Armida (issued by Melodram) at a used CD store. If you have this recording, could you tell me what you think of it? Thank you!

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #33
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 22:13:43 +0100
From: Lycia Collins <lycia@xyz.to>
To: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
CC: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Armida
References: <Pine.SOL.4.10.9908311106070.3296-100000@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Dear Vicki,

Vicki J. Kondelik wrote:

> Yesterday I found a copy of Callas' recording of Rossini's Armida (issued
> by Melodram) at a used CD store. If you have this recording, could you
> tell me what you think of it? Thank you!
>
> Vicki Kondelik
> vickik@xyz.to

Callas is in amazing form here, just listen to 'D'amore al dolce impero' (Act II) or 'Dove son io?' (Act III). The sound is murky though, so it is like listening through an aural 'fog', but it is worth the effort, but really just for Callas, as the others are not in her class. Domingo once said (while talking about the first Three Tenors concert) 'There is no piece in opera for three tenors.' - wrong! This is the opera with a big trio for tenors, some of which wasn't recorded I believe because of a break in transmission.

Do get it - Callas will take your breath away!

Best wishes

Lycia

-- The Art of Maria Callas http://welcome.to/Maria_Callas Divina Records http://www.divinarecords.com The Maria Callas International Club http://business.fortunecity.com/simplot/219/

***********************************************************

"Life is a battlefield....I do not ask for anything. I let things and people come to me....That is how I am, the basis of my nature. Maybe it is because I do not want the risk of being refused. Maybe it is pride. But I do not want to ask. I do not want to command......" Maria Callas 1970



Message #34
From: athos@xyz.to
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1999 00:11:30 -0700
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: "Enigma" song
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

Hi all! This is kind of a random question. The group "Enigma" in their first mainstream album titled "MCMXC a.D." have a song called "Callas Went Away". This song contains pieces of what sounds like Callas' singing. Does anyone know if it is really Callas, and if so, where the snippets are taken from? Thanks!

Ellen



Message #35
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1999 23:19:58 +0100
From: Lycia Collins <lycia@xyz.to>
To: athos@xyz.to
CC: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: "Enigma" song
References: <199909010710.AAA32423@xyz.to>
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

athos@xyz.to wrote:

> Hi all!
> This is kind of a random question. The group "Enigma" in their first
> mainstream album titled "MCMXC a.D." have a song called "Callas Went Away".
> This song contains pieces of what sounds like Callas' singing. Does
> anyone know if it is really Callas, and if so, where the snippets are taken
> from?
> Thanks!
>
> Ellen

The material used consists of three lines from Charlotte's letter aria (Massenet 'Werther') from EMI's second French recital album, recorded 1963.

The lines used are:

Ah! je les relis sans cesse (Ah! I read them constantly)
Je devais les detruire (I ought to destroy them)
Ces lettres!   Ces lettres! (These letters!  These letters!)
(The line 'Ces lettres! Ces lettres!' is repeated.)

I have put together a wav file of 320kb which consists of these excerpts from the original recording, as they are used in 'Callas Went Away'. If anyone wants it I'll be glad to send it.

Best wishes

Lycia

--
The Art of Maria Callas
http://welcome.to/Maria_Callas
Divina Records
http://www.divinarecords.com
The Maria Callas International Club
http://business.fortunecity.com/simplot/219/

***********************************************************

"Life is a battlefield....I do not ask for anything. I let things and people come to me....That is how I am, the basis of my nature. Maybe it is because I do not want the risk of being refused. Maybe it is pride. But I do not want to ask. I do not want to command......" Maria Callas 1970



Message #36
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 10:42:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Armida
Sender: owner-la-divina@xyz.to
Precedence: bulk

I bought the Armida and listened to it last night. All I can say is: Wow!!! A great big THANK YOU to everyone who told me how great this performance was! You are absolutely right; this is simply the most spectacular singing I have ever heard. That high F was incredible; it's the note at the end of track 6 on the first CD, right? Isn't that the highest note Callas ever sang? And there's one at the end of track 10 on the first CD that sounds almost as high, at least to me. (But, as I've said before, I don't have the finely-tuned ears that some people have.) :-) Was that another high F? And that high note she sings at the very end of the opera, singing above the orchestra: wow! I just love the way she sings "D'amor sul dolce impero"; I have the recording from the Martini-Rossi recital (which is also one of the bonus tracks on this CD, so it's interesting to compare the two). I think this one is even more spectacular. Someone said she got off to a nervous start; that could be, but once that was over, her singing was incredible! What an exciting performance!

I also think the music itself is beautiful, but I can undertand why this opera isn't performed very often. It sounds like it would be extremely difficult, especially for the leading soprano.

As for the sound on the recording: it wasn't quite as bad as I expected. It's too bad part of Act III was lost, but I'm so glad we even have this recording! Also, I didn't think the tenors were as bad as someone said they were. Of course, they're not on Callas' level, but that doesn't matter to me. :-)

My only question is: what was this recording doing in a used CD store in the first place? Why would anyone want to give it up? :-)

Again, thanks to everyone who told me about this incredible performance.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #37
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 10:01:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Un Ballo in Maschera; questions for Callas fans
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I just listened to a live recording of Un Ballo in Maschera (La Scala, 1957). This was wonderful! Callas and di Stefano are so exciting together, especially in a live performance! I do not have Callas' and di Stefano's studio recording of Un Ballo. My question is: what do you think of the studio recording? And how does it compare to the live recording?

Also, someone on OPERA-L brought this up, and I thought they were interesting questions, so I'll ask you as well. He asked:

1. Which Callas performance do you wish you had been at? 2. Which Callas performance, of which there is no known recording, do you wish had been recorded?

I'll tell you what my answers were: :-)

1. First of all, I wasn't even born yet when Callas was singing opera, so I wish I could have been at any of her performances. But if I had to choose one, I'd choose her last performance at the Met (Tosca, 1965).
>From everything I've read about it, it sounds like it would have been extremely exciting. (Were any of you there? I know some people on OPERA-L were.)

2. If I had to choose only one, I'd choose Fedora. But there are so many I'd love to have: her Brunnhilde, for example. Also, I'd love to have a 100% authentic recording of her 1949 Turandot from Buenos Aires. And I'd love to have a recording of *anything* she sang in Greece during the war years, because I wish I knew what her voice sounded like in those days.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #38
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 21:06:00 -0400
From: William Fregosi <odysseus@xyz.to>
To: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
CC: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Un Ballo in Maschera; questions for Callas fans
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Replying to Vicki's request, there are casting differences between the live La Scala BALLO and the commercial Angel-EMI release: Bastianini and Simionato at their peak are Renato and Ulrica for the live performance and are just wonderful. You have to put up with Ratti as Oscar on both performances — hers may be a "legitimate" Italian leggiera sound but it is one I cannot love — but she is freer and more interesting vocally in the live performance than on the commercial set.

I would recommend the EMI to anyone if only the La Scala live set didn't exist. But the live set is just that much better, more exciting that it gets my vote hands down. AND — you also get to hear the La Scala audience, one of the most dynamic operatic performers ever recorded.

Bill Fregosi



Message #39
From: "Javi" <syro@xyz.to>
To: "La Divina" <la-divina@xyz.to>
Subject: Callas and Kraus
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 14:20:29 +0200
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Hello to everybody.

I've been some time reading the postings in the list, and I've finally decided to write something about Maria Callas. As you probably know, Alfredo Kraus died last friday, September 10th. And it was interesting to read in the newspapers of Spain, how he jumped into fame throughout the Lisbon Traviata, sung with Callas.

I knew there was the pirate recording which I have from EMI. But one thing that surprised me and that I didn't have any idea of, was that there is a video that an admirer of Callas took that evening. Did any of you know about this video? Do you know where to find it?

When I bought that Traviata I understood how Kraus was the perfect partner to Callas in that role. And I think they should have sung more times toghether. Because Kraus shared with Callas the same willing of perfection on both singing and acting. Do you know what Callas said after the setting? "I don't want more surprises like the one of this canarian tenor", she said when she listened to an acclaimed rival. (Kraus was substituting another tenor).

I'm expecting your answers. And I have to congratulate Vicky: I think the list is alive thanks of her. :))) Best wishes, Javi.



Message #40
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:58:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Javi <syro@xyz.to>
cc: La Divina <la-divina@xyz.to>
Subject: Re: Callas and Kraus
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I was very sad when I learned about Alfredo Kraus' death. I love the Lisbon Traviata recording, and I agree; he was a great partner for Callas and I wish they had sung together more often. Not only that, but Alfredo Kraus was in the very first opera I ever saw! It was a telecast of Faust in 1978 (?) with Kraus, Freni, and Ghiarov. I was only eight years old at the time and didn't know who the singers were, but later on, when I really got interested in opera, my parents told me who was in that telecast.

Unfortunately, I think the video of the Lisbon Traviata consists of just a very few clips, in poor condition. They are available on a wonderful video called (I think) The Art of Singing, which also includes clips from Callas' Covent Garden Tosca. I hope I'm wrong about this, though. If there is more of this besides a few clips, please let me know!

> I knew there was the pirate recording which I have from EMI. But one thing
> that surprised me and that I didn't have any idea of, was that there is a
> video that an admirer of Callas took that evening. Did any of you know about
> this video? Do you know where to find it?
>
> When I bought that Traviata I understood how Kraus was the perfect partner
> to Callas in that role. And I think they should have sung more times
> toghether. Because Kraus shared with Callas the same willing of perfection
> on both singing and acting. Do you know what Callas said after the setting?
> "I don't want more surprises like the one of this canarian tenor", she said
> when she listened to an acclaimed rival. (Kraus was substituting another
> tenor).

Thanks for the compliment, but I don't think I deserve it. :-)

> I'm expecting your answers. And I have to congratulate Vicky: I think the
> list is alive thanks of her. :)))
> Best wishes,
> Javi.
>

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #41
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 09:38:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: A sad day
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This is a very sad day, because Maria Callas died on this date in 1977. I was only seven years old at the time, so I don't remember much, except that I do remember my parents talking about it. Do you remember how you found out about Callas' death?

A few nights ago, I listened to a recording of Tosca with Callas, Cioni, and Gobbi from Covent Garden 1964, which is available (very inexpensively) from Opera d'Oro. What a performance from Callas and Gobbi! I didn't care for Cioni, though; it sounded like he was whining most of the time, and Callas completely overpowered him in their duets. But Callas and Gobbi were so exciting! This is, of course, the same production that the Covent Garden video comes from. It is an incredible performance, and the audience absolutely loved Callas. What applause she got at the end of Act II and (especially) at the end of the opera!

Tonight I will listen to several different Callas recordings, as a tribute to her on this sad day.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #42
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 10:33:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Chris Beckwith <beckwith@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: A sad day
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Yes, I agree. I remember my parents talking about her, but I really had no idea who she was, back then. Later on they told me that the local Public Radio station played a lot of Callas after she died. I couldn't help but notice that when Alfredo Kraus died, my local station (the same one!) didn't play anything with Kraus. Not only that, but I don't even think they said anything about his death. The amount of opera they play on that station has really gone down over the years.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to

> I was thirteen at the time, and opera was not on my radar then, but with the
> proliferation of Callas documentaries I can place the day of her death in
> some sort of historical context. With that in mind, the untimeliness (or
> timeliness, if one feels that the timing was somehow inevitable) of her
> demise hits home regardless of whether one was aware of her presence in
> 1977 or not.
>
> Take care,
>
> Chris
>



Message #43
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 10:37:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Another question for Callas fans
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This question came up on the Yahoo club "Aria of Maria Callas" and I thought it was interesting:

Which role that Callas did not sing or record do you wish that she had sung or recorded?

I had several answers to this. My first choice is probably Strauss' Elektra, if she had agreed to sing in German. But there are so many others! Another one is the lead in the Makropoulos Case. Is it true that she was offered this role and turned it down? I thought I had read that somewhere.

Also, I think she would have been great as Donna Anna or Donna Elvira, or the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. I know she didn't care for Mozart's operas, but was it the music itself she didn't like? I think I read that she didn't like the way the operas were performed, not the music itself.

I also think she would have been wonderful in some of the great French mezzo roles like Dalila, or Charlotte in Werther. And I wish she had sung Carmen on the stage! I love her recording of it. And I also think she would have been great in the Verdi mezzo roles like Azucena, Eboli, and Amneris. (Was she offered Azucena at one time? I thought I read this, too.)

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to



Message #44
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 17:34:46 +0200
To: la-divina@xyz.to
From: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
Subject: Mahler, German, link rot
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Vicki J. Kondelik asked:

>Which role that Callas did not sing or record do you wish that she had
>sung or recorded?

Well it's rather pointless to have a wish, but I'd have been interested to hear how Callas would have sung Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder". I think this would have suited her voice, and there's plenty of scope for the expression of dark emotions.

Which reminds me that the question of why Callas never sang in German (assuming she never did - I don't know of any instance) has come up before, but I forget what explanation was given. She sang operas by German composers (Beethoven, Wagner) in Italian, so she had nothing against German composers. That she refused to sing in German because of her antipathy toward Nazi Germany's occupation of Greece is not very plausible (it would have been unprofessional). Perhaps the reason is simply that she never sang in Germany until later in her career (recitals in Hamburg, Stuttgart, etc.), so maybe no-one ever asked her to. Or perhaps they did but Meneghini turned them down.

Damn! More link rot. It seems http://www.operasinger.com/ has disappeared, and their interview with Stelios Galatopoulos (formerly at http://www.operasinger.com/p10.htm) has disappeared with them. Anyone know if it has turned up somewhere else?

Regards, Peter Meyer



Message #45
Precedence: first-class
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 11:56:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Vicki J. Kondelik" <vickik@xyz.to>
To: Peter Meyer <serendipity@xyz.to>
cc: la-divina@xyz.to
Subject: Re: Mahler, German, link rot

On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Peter Meyer wrote:

> Well it's rather pointless to have a wish, but I'd have been interested
> to hear how Callas would have sung Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder".
> I think this would have suited her voice, and there's plenty
> of scope for the expression of dark emotions.

Why is it "pointless" to have a wish? I think it is interesting to speculate on what might have been. I never thought of Mahler, but that would have been interesting.

> Which reminds me that the question of why Callas never sang in German
> (assuming she never did - I don't know of any instance) has come up
> before, but I forget what explanation was given. She sang operas by
> German composers (Beethoven, Wagner) in Italian, so she had nothing
> against German composers. That she refused to sing in German
> because of her antipathy toward Nazi Germany's occupation of
> Greece is not very plausible (it would have been unprofessional).
> Perhaps the reason is simply that she never sang in Germany
> until later in her career (recitals in Hamburg, Stuttgart, etc.),
> so maybe no-one ever asked her to. Or perhaps they did but
> Meneghini turned them down.

Actually, there is one very brief (only a minute or so) recording of her singing in German. It's a song by Schumann, from a private concert in Paris, 1976, and it's on "The Unknown Recordings, vol. 2" CD from Divina Records. As far as I know, that's the only recording of her singing in German. I don't really know why she never sang opera in German, except that at that time in Italy, Wagner was always sung in Italian. Maybe she never had the opportunity to sing in German. But it might also have had something to do with her experiences during the war.

> Damn! More link rot. It seems http://www.operasinger.com/ has
> disappeared, and their interview with Stelios Galatopoulos
> (formerly at http://www.operasinger.com/p10.htm)
> has disappeared with them. Anyone know if it has
> turned up somewhere else?

Sorry to hear that! It was a great interview, too. I hope it turns up somewhere else.

Vicki Kondelik vickik@xyz.to

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