From early in her career, it was striking how Callas juxtaposed coloratura heroines, traditionally sung in previous decades by twittering sopranos such as Lily Pons, with heftier roles that Pons and her ilk would not have touched in a million years. The Rome recital (with Rome's Orchestra della RAI and conductor Oliviero de Fabritiis) is a fine example of this: Verdi's Lady Macbeth and Abigaille are followed by Donizetti's Lucia and Delibes' Lakmé, and it doesn't seem ridiculous or misguided at all. Granted, Delibes' Indian priestess does not give Callas much to sink her teeth into, dramatically speaking, but the coloratura is impressive. (Truth to tell, though, other singers jumped those hurdles better than she did.) Even with the conductor's excessively leisurely tempos, Callas creates a malevolent Lady Macbeth. She would be even better in this role later on – see below. The San Remo material (Orchestra della RIA conducted by Alfredo Simonetto) offers similar juxtapositions: Mozart's Konstanze ("Martern aller Arten" is sung in Italian as "Tutte le torture") and Meyerbeer's Dinorah are put in their places by Rossini's fearsome Armida! In between, Charpentier's dreamy Louise ("Depuis le jour") displays the soprano's skills as a lyric soprano as well. All of this is most impressive. The voice is in excellent condition throughout this CD, and the sound has held up very well over the decades.
A true Callas cornucopia, this 70-CD set gathers together everything Maria Callas ever recorded in the studio. That's 26 complete operas (four of which are studio repeats), plus the complete studio recitals made during the legendary soprano's recording career, which lasted from 1949-69. The bonus CD-ROM contains libretti and translations in English, French and German, plus a Callas photo library, while remastered treats include Callas's first recital recording, originally made for the Fonit-Cetra label and featuring arias by Wagner and Bellini. – Barnes & Noble
As a world-renowned piano virtuoso, Stephen Hough has demonstrated time and again his prodigious skills in brilliant performances of the great concertos, though as a recording artist, he has revealed a wider range of repertoire and unexpected interests. This Hyperion release of Edvard Grieg's Lyric Pieces is an example of how Hough sometimes ventures into quiet, less familiar byways that offer him a variety of expressive possibilities. These miniatures are far removed from blockbuster showpieces, and their picturesque scenes and delicate melodies suggest the careful handiwork of the craftsman. They also reflect Grieg's nostalgia for the Romantic past and love for Norwegian fairy tales and folkways, which he expressed with disarming simplicity and succinctness. Hough's program of 27 selections from the larger collection of 66 pieces, published in 10 books, extends from the early Arietta of 1867 to Remembrances of 1901, giving a generous representation of Grieg's intimate musings and evocative character studies.
"The Lyric Theory Reader" collects major essays on the modern idea of lyric, made available here for the first time in one place. Representing a wide range of perspectives in Anglo-American literary criticism from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the collection as a whole documents the diversity and energy of ongoing critical conversations about lyric poetry. …