bedpartymakeover asked: Do you mean the 1952 Armida? ❤️
Oh of course! I get confused…. I also adored her 1954 recital performance of Armida’s big aria too.
rahja asked: She really was a wonder. For the LONGEST time I really didn't like Callas... But I think I was listening to the wrong recordings. To quote Dame Sutherland: "I don't think anyone who heard Callas after 1955 really heard the Callas voice..." *paraphrased* Anywho, do you have any suggested recordings?
Callas is the embodiment of her art. There’s been no one with her incredible (fully supported) vocal range, musicianship, technical mastery or interpretative skills. Every role she sang was hers.
My favourite recordings:
- The 1954 recording of Norma in it’s entirety. The greatest Norma ever recorded.
- Her 1952 recording of ‘Suicidio’ from La Gioconda. Chest tones that only Callas could produce.
- The live 1953 recording of Armida. The role that shows all her amazing coloratura ability.
- The 1957 recording of Anna Bolena. The role that defines her as THE assoluta.
- The 1959 studio Lucia.
The great mezzo Giulietta Simionato and tenor Carlo Bergonzi singing the incredibly intense duet ‘L’aborrita rivale….’ from Verdi’s opera Aida.
My favourite duet from Aida, showcasing the fabulously dramatic character of the Egyptian Princess Amneris in particular. In this scene, Amneris toils with her conscience between the jealousy and hatred she feels towards Aida who has escaped, and even contemplates condemning her love Radames to death. Amidst her wrath however, she summons Radames before her to implore him to fight for his life. Despite her pleas, his love for Aida is unshakeable and his fate his confirmed.
Simionato to me is the greatest Amneris. Although she claims she never altered the colour of her voice to sing the role, the keen facets she allows to accumulate within the character do not show a one-dimensional style of singing. She sings the low chest notes (down to the low Ab3 in this scene) with a regal, powerful authority and maintains a beautifully rich command of the line to affirm her status as a royal woman, as well as her undulating anger as Radames refuses to relinquish Aida. Then there are the ringing High Bb5’s that she sings like a dramatic soprano which sting with anxiety and fear, as she begins to realise that even her high position cannot save Radames from himself.
Amneris really is the most enduring and compelling of all of Aida’s characters. An emotionally complex and fascinating musical creation, made even more so by the brilliant vocal intelligence and theatrical skill of Simionato.