Maria Callas sings Massenet’s Manon; Georges Prêtre conducts (1965)
Happy birthday to La Divina.
On August 30th, 1964, at Onassis’s request, Callas gave an impromptu performance on Lefkada, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. She sang a Greek folk song and “Voi lo sapete” from Cavalleria Rusticana, accompanied by pianist Kuriakos Sfetsas. The improvised concert turned out to be her last professional appearance in Greece.
This silent movie of the concert is also, as far as I know, the only color footage of Callas singing.
Callas sings the Proch Variations (1951)
The vocal color, the breath support, the coloratura, the legato, the final high note are all so transcendentally perfect that it is impossible to imagine a better performance of this fiendishly difficult piece. Maybe it should just be retired from circulation now that we have this recording to listen to.
“I always thought she was immortal… and she is!” ~ Tito GobbiCallas, La Divina → December 2, 1923 ~ September 16, 1977
Anna Bolena, 1957.
Maria Callas with Leonard Bernstein during the rehearsals of Medea in 1953.
Maria Callas gives a master class on Rigoletto (Juilliard School, 1972)
I have always felt that Gilda was not a role that ideally suited Callas’s voice and temperament. This astonishing document explains why her recordings of this opera are vaguely disappointing: what really interested her was the baritone part.
Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca:
(Recorded: November 25th, 1956)
Under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos.
Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano in the dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly. (Chicago, 1955)