I posted earlier this year Maria Callas’s commercial recording of the “Légende du Paria” from Lakmé by Léo Delibes. (The YouTube clip in the February post has been removed by the user, but here is another iteration of the same recording.)
The clip in today’s post purports to bring us Maria Callas’s 1952 concert performance of the same aria in exceptionally good sound. Two comments: (1) the sound quality is indeed remarkable; and (2) wow, the performance is strikingly similar to the one she set down in 1954 for EMI.
I don’t have the patience to undertake the kind of painstaking repeat listening needed to establish for sure whether today’s clip could be the EMI recording with applause tacked on. (First of all, it’s Delibes, not exactly my cup of tea; and second… well, nothing. I just don’t have it in me.)
Whatever its date or provenance, the performance is astonishing for its accuracy and flair.