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Χρόνια Πολλά!

Callas on the beach.

Callas on the beach.

Happy birthday to Maria Callas, who was born on 2 December 1923.

To celebrate, I offer her and you the online equivalent of a dozen red roses: a dozen favorite blog posts about Callas!

If you are looking for words, try my essay, my 2007 tribute to Callas, or the chock-full-of-Rossini birthday post.

Maria Callas: 78 rpm recordings

“Dolce e calmo”: Maria Callas sings Wagner

“Dolce e calmo”: Maria Callas sings Wagner

Following the lead of dear @JanettMR, today I point you to a wonderful website, the Maria Callas Museum.

The site is chock-full of fascinating materials in many media, including recordings. One screen is devoted to Maria Callas’s 1949 Cetra recordings—or rather, to some of them, because I believe that there is an alternate take of “Qui la voce” from Bellini’s I Puritani (and perhaps also a test recording of “Casta diva”).

All of these recordings are among Maria Callas’s very best: Isolde’s Tranfiguration, Part I and Part II, from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde; “Casta diva” Part I and Part II plus “Bello a me ritorna” from Bellini’s Norma; and “Qui la voce” and “Vien diletto” from I Puritani.

When Maria Callas made these recordings in November 1949, she was not yet 26 years old.

Grazie, Divina

Maria Callas, † 16.IX.1977

Maria Callas, †16.IX.1977

Maria Callas went to rest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on 16 September 1977.

Please read my tribute, and give thanks for her as you listen to her 1949 recording of Isolde’s Transfiguration from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.

Odo io sola
Questo canto?
Voce arcana,
Voce pia,
Calma, pura
Come il pianto,
Dolce incanto,
Inno santo…

Callas as Fiorilla and Kundry

Richard Wagner’s Parsifal had its world premiere in Bayreuth on 26 July 1882, 129 years ago.

The earlier incarnation of this blog featured Callas in Wagner’s Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde. Today’s clever YouTube clip juxtaposes two performances that Callas gave in Rome in 1950, as Fiorilla in Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and Kundry in Parsifal.

Try to imagine in our times, say, Waltraud Meier as Fiorilla and Cecilia Bartoli as Kundry. Reflect, too, that Meier has been singing for thirty-four years and Bartoli for twenty-four—whereas Callas’s “big” career, as she called it, lasted from 1947 until 1965, a scant eighteen years.