EMI's generous compilation of 100 tracks from its archive of recordings by Maria Callas makes a fine introduction to her legacy. Callas' voice isn't consistent throughout, but when she's at her best, it's easy to hear the musical and dramatic power that made her the most legendary opera singer of the 20th century. She is impressive often enough that it's not hard to forgive the performances that are less than stellar. The six-disc collection is intelligently organized, with each disc dedicated to a particular composer (or several composers) or a theme: Bellini; Donizetti and Rossini; Verdi; Puccini; French operatic heroines; and dramatic heroines.
Verdi, child of the people, king of popular opera, began life as the son of an innkeeper. He was brought up in modest circumstances. He first received lessons from the village priest, who was amazed by the young musician’s talents. Verdi’s musical education was rounded and complete: at the age of sixteen, the composer wrote fugues, masses and symphonies, which he would later destroy. As he met with reticence in Milan, he settled in Busseto where he fell victim to the pettiness of the town. However, his strong willpower enabled him to pursue his musical path without paying heed to what people said.
With this new production of La traviata at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival, Natalie Dessay made her first European appearances as Verdi’s Violetta, a pinnacle of the soprano repertoire. She made her debut in the role in 2009 at the Santa Fe Festival in the US, and subsequently sang Violetta in Japan. Dessay’s 2011-12 season will include La traviata at the Vienna State Opera (in this Aix-en-Provence production by French theatre and opera director Jean-François Sivadier) and the New York Metropolitan.
This 2007 production from the Teatro Regio di Parma is conducted by Yuri Termirkanov. He has appeared with many leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and La Scala.
"Do we really need another Traviata? Yes! Emphatically Yes! This one! The production by Karl-Ernst Herrmann is lavish. Each act has its individual color. Costumes, also by Herrmann, are period lavish. Staging by Karl-Ernst and Ursel Herrman is rich in detail." - American Record Guide
It is 40 years since Maria Callas died (16th September 1977), but she lives on as the epitome of the operatic diva. She has never lost her place among the top-selling classical artists. To mark this anniversary alongside the luxury boxset – 0190295844707 Maria Callas Live - Warner Classics also releases two compilations: 2CD Digipak 1LP Standard 180gr. These two collections benefit from the superb new remastering and convey thus Callas’ compelling genius as a singing actress with a new truthfulness and immediacy: Maria Callas Live and Alive! ü The passion and charisma of Maria Callas, performing live on the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls, can now be experienced as never before – thanks to new audio remastering from the best available sources. These are performances that played a crucial part in creating the legend of Callas, La Divina, and which keep her thrilling art very much alive.
In this live 1973 performance from Japan, Scotto is parthnered by one of the great tenors of our time, José Carreras, then at the start of his international career. The distinguished baritone Sesto Bruscantini is a formidable Germont who sings an exceptionally moving rendition of the famous aria "Di Provenza il mar".