Anna Bolena, Donizetti’s 1830 masterpiece, is in the news. Maria Callas sang the final scene of Bolena in a Dallas concert in November 1957. The rehearsal was recorded, and it is one of the most compelling documents of her at work that we have. John Ardoin discusses the rehearsal in detail in The Callas Legacy.
Callas’s honor and professionalism as an artist are especially germane to considerations of Bolena:
You see, a musician is a musician. A singer is no different from an instrumentalist except that we have words. You don’t excuse things in a singer you would not dream of excusing in a violinist or pianist. There is no excuse for not having a trill, for not doing the acciaccatura, for not having good scales. Look at your scores! There are technical things written there to be performed, and they must be performed whether you like it or not.
Earlier posts: Maria Callas and Giulietta Simionato in Anna Bolena; Maria Callas in a studio recording of music from Bolena.