La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) is an opera semiseria in two acts, with music in the bel canto tradition by Vincenzo Bellini. This 2008 production was staged by Hugo de Ana at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. The references to 17th century Romantic painting and refined visual projections are a tribute to Luchino Visconti. Visconti produced the memorable performance of La Sonnambula at the Scala di Milano with the magnificent Maria Callas.
Simone Alaimo is one of Italy’s best bass-baritones and Antonino Siragusa is a very experienced performer of Rossini and Bellini operas. The role of Amina is sung by the rising star of the International world, Eglise Gutierrez.
Drawn in all but one instance from material issued previously on DVD by EMI, this video tribute to Maria Callas, marking the 30th anniversary of her death in September 1977, does its job for the most part strikingly well. In fact, there’s one item—a film of Callas singing “Casta diva” from an RAI-Rome New Year’s Eve telecast at 9 p.m. on December 31, 1957—that may in itself warrant your purchase of this DVD. Missing from the chronology of filmed performances in the final edition of John Ardoin’s The Callas Legacy (4th edition; Amadeus Press, 1995), and missing also from some of the “complete” performance chronologies elsewhere in the Callas literature, it appears here, “for the first time on DVD,” as a “special bonus feature”. This is a historic document.
Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977) was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the twentieth century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique with great dramatic gifts. An extremely versatile singer, her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini; further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, the music dramas of Wagner. Her remarkable musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Elvira de Hidalgo (1892 - 1980), was a Spanish soprano and singing teacher, whose best-known student was Maria Callas. Of all Callas's teachers, de Hidalgo probably had the greatest influence on her technique and career. She was born in Valderrobres, Teruel Province (Spain). She had a significant singing career as a coloratura soprano before becoming a teacher at the Athens Conservatoire. She made several recordings for Columbia and Fonotipia. Her "Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville is typical of the singing of the excellently-trained singers of the turn of the century. Her timbre, ease of production and great agility are all hallmarks of the kind of singing technique which such teachers as Mathilde Marchesi taught in the late 19th century. She was not, however, a pupil of Marchesi but of Melchiorre Vidal, who also taught Maria Barrientos, Graziella Pareto, Julián Gayarre, Fernando Valero, Francesco Vignas and Rosina Storchio. She died in Milan, Italy in 1980.
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