I posted an excerpt from Beethoven’s “Ah, perfido!” (1796) last year. Today’s selection is the complete EMI recording from late 1963 and early 1964. Nicola Rescigno leads the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.
Though Callas’s voice is not at its surest here, this “Ah, perfido!” is one of my great favorites among her recordings. I find that the combination of severity and fire in the music of Cherubini, Beethoven, Spontini, and Berlioz (who modelled himself on the older composers) suited her exceptionally well.
What a pity that she never revisited Fidelio after 1945!
Here is a snippet from a rehearsal recording of “Ah, perfido!” supposedly made in 1976, about a year before Callas died. Again, if the date is accurate, then it may be true that Callas never really lost her voice, only her nerve. And here is her Juilliard master class on Beethoven’s concert aria.
P.S. This post comes to you by the miracle of auto-scheduling. I’ll respond to comments and such on Monday.