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Callas in Lucia, Traviata & Norma

Gaetano DONIZETTI Lucia di Lammermoor

Lucia . . .Maria Callas (soprano)
Edgardo . . . Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) . .
Enrico.. . Tito Gobbi (baritone)
Raimondo. . . . Raffaele Arie (bass)
Arturo. . . .ValianoNatali(tenor)
Alisa . . . . Anna Maria Canali (mezzo-sopqmo)
Normanno . . . . Gino Sarri (tenor)

Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Tullio Serafin,
Recorded January/February 1953 in the Teatro Comunale, Florence
Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

Naxos 8.110131-32

Giuseppe VERDI La Traviata

Violetta Valery ...Maria Callas (soprano)
Flora Bervoix ...Ede Gandolfo Marietti (mezzo-soprano)
Annina .. Ines Marietti (soprano)
Alfredo Germont ...Francesco Albanese (tenor)
GiorgioGermont...Ugo Savarese (baritone)

Symphony Orchestra of Radio Italiana, Turin/Tullio Serafin, Conductor
September 1953 at the Auditorium RAI, Turin
Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Ward Marston

Naxos 8.110300-01

Vincenzo BELLINI Norma

Norma. . . Maria Callas (soprano)
Pollione . . . Mario Filippeschi (tenor).
Adalgisa . . . Ebe Stignani (mezzo-soprano)
Oroveso . . Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (bass)

Orchestra of Teatro alia Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin, Conductor
Recorded April/May 1954 in Milan
Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

Naxos 8.110325-27

These three classic recordings of Maria Callas from 1953/54 are so famous that, at Naxos's price, the performances need no recommendation from me. They have been refurbished with great skill and discretion by Mark Obert-Thorn and Ward Marston, two leading exponents of the art, and they sound splendid. It is far preferable to listen to Callas in the dramatic context of complete performances than in aria recitals, and all three have given us great pleasure.

The notes are informative and Obert-Thorn gives us technical details about his sources and 'moderate interventionist' procedures. The Norma is enhanced by highlights from a roster of the greats from 1927-36 and the Lucia by a selection of excerpts recorded in 1910-52. Michael Scott tells us that for this 1953 Traviata, Callas was still 'in the plenitude of her powers and her instrument matched the size of her figure', before 'her voice like her physique had become thinner and less substantial' from a crash slimming course. There is a discrepancy with this Traviata; the conductor is given as Tullio Serafin in the listing but Gabriele Santini is named on the cover (more likely correct).

All three recommended as a good basis for a Callas collection.

Peter Grahame Woolf


© Peter Grahame Woolf