Callas's 1953 Tosca

On 1996-04-26 this was posted to alt.fan.maria-callas:

I completely agree that there is no point in talking about the Mexico city E-flat [in Maria Callas's 1951 performance in Verdi's Aida]. What does matter is that she was a wonderful singer, with a voice so full of emotion that I cannot just sit down to listen and do another thing at the same time. The last opera I got was Tosca (1953 [at La Scala, Milan]). She sang with so much intensity that I became very moved. I could picture myself when she was listening to the vile proposal made to her in the second act [where the evil Scarpia, the hated Chief of Police in Rome, offers to spare the life of Tosca's lover, the painter Cavaradossi, if Tosca will allow Scarpia to have her], or when she suddenly realises that her lover is dead. I was completely exhausted at the end. I guess that that was her artistry. ... Today we don't have the chance of being able to see her perform [except in her videos], but we can surely listen to her with our eyes closed. And what an experience it is. -- Pedro

To which Chloe Meakin replied:

I, too have just bought a copy of the 1953 Tosca, and agree with everything Pedro said. I was only four months old when Callas died, and I have yet to see the film of her second act 1964 Tosca, so I have no experience of her in performance, and yet I am completely overwhelmed by the force, emotion and artistry of her recordings. As a starving student, everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I spend all my money on her CD's, and it's worth every penny. Personally, my favourite aria is "Pleurez mes yeux" from Le Cid, and although I have heard many others sing it, I've never heard anyone feel it the way Callas can.

To which Per-Arne Jonsson added:

What makes a great singer truly great is if he/she can reach the heart of the listener. Maria Callas is great. Sometimes her high notes were far from perfect, and other singers might have sung with more beautiful voices. But very few singers have acted in the same way as Maria Callas with their voices. Don't let anybody take the experience from you.


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