Archive for the callas Category

Greeks bearing bids

Posted in callas, festoonery on October 24, 2007 by lacieca

According to the Guardian Unlimited, the “cash-strapped” government of Greece is scrambling to raise sufficient funds to purchase over $1 million worth of Maria Callas memorabilia at a Sotheby’s auction on December 12.

The “voluminous” collection to be auctioned includes “a fabulous array of intimate letters, jewels, evening dresses, furniture, paintings, photographs, unseen stage notes and annotated musical scores released by the estate of Callas’s husband, the late Italian industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini.” The auction will include a number of items Meneghini purchased at the first estate sale of the diva’s possessions back in 1978.

La Cieca’s favorite part of this story is the name of the Sotheby’s spokesperson: “Esmeralda Benvenuti.

Norma Rai

Posted in broadcast, callas, diva on October 17, 2007 by lacieca

Culminating the month-long Maria Callas mania over at Rai 3, this Saturday the Italian radio network will broadcast a newly restored version (“il cui audio verrà restaurato per l’occasione”) of the celebrated June 29, 1955 concert of Bellini’s Norma.

Co-starring with La Divina are Mario del Monaco and Ebe Stignani, under the baton of Tullio Serafin. That broadcast should begin at 2:30 PM New York time; everyone else will have to puzzle it out from there.

While this Norma is hardly an “lost performance,” currently available dubs of the broadcast are of frustratingly poor quality. Some are pitched incorrectly; others substitute bits of other performances from Callas commercial recordings or other sources. If this Saturday broadcast indeed presents a complete and cleaned-up version, joy will indeed be unconfined.

Oh, and here’s a direct link to the Rai 3 player. (La Cieca thanks dear Herman Melville for both the tip and the headline.)

Pop-top frocks

Posted in callas, diva, festoonery, gay gay gay gay gay, this diva looks like that diva on October 15, 2007 by lacieca

New York-based artist Nikos Floros has created an artistic tribute to La Divina herself from 20 thousand beer and soft drink cans for an art exhibition in Athens.

The exhibition includes a sculptural gown inspired by Maria Callas’s costume for Iphigénie en Tauride featuring ring-pulls that become a lace-like collar. A kimono sculpture is inspired by Madama Butterfly.

“Today’s temples are supermarkets, malls and department stores,” the artist says. “That’s where you exist.”

Over a period of five years, Floros purchased more than 200,000 aluminium cans of soft drinks and beer and turned them into large-scale sculptures dedicated to La Divina’s spirit, among other things.

“Opera Sculptured Costumes” is on display at the National Bank of Greece’s Melas Mansion through October 19.

The new Callas?

Posted in callas, netrebko on September 19, 2007 by lacieca

Maria and Anna, morphed.

Assoluta

Posted in callas, podcast on September 14, 2007 by lacieca

Sunday, September 16 will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of that most significant of all opera singers, Maria Callas. In honor of the diva, Unnatural Acts of Opera presents one of her rare New York performances, a concert version of Il pirata as performed at Carnegie Hall on January 27, 1959.
Unnatural Acts of Opera

Sai quale oscura opera laggiu si compia?

Posted in callas, diva, veoh on August 15, 2007 by lacieca

In fact, the opera is anything but obscure. But the performance has been seen only rarely since 1956.

Which Puritani: discuss.

Posted in bel canto, caballe, callas, cher public, discuss, met on May 10, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca has finally found a way to harness the massive intellectual prowess of her commenters for what she hopes is a good and peaceful purpose. From time to time she is asked for recommendations on, well, this and that, and she’s realized that you, cher public represent an paralleled resource for advising, counselling and general kibitzing. Our first question for the group: what’s your recommendation for a recording of I puritani? “A.R.” writes:

The frisson that Anna Netrebko created at Met recently piqued my interest in the work again- but I find myself dissatisfied with the array of recordings available. Joan I’d have to quickly count out- a lot of the time it sounds like she’s singing the phone book. Not a Bonynge fan either. Ditto La Sills– I just don’t like the timbre of her voice. I own the Caballe/Kraus recording and enjoy it- even without most of the high notes and no trill from Montsy. Despite that she always wins me over and Kraus makes a good fist of Arturo- I don’t understand the negative crits he got for this recording. When are people going to realise that the high D’s and high F were not meant to be sung full voice- I feel sure they were supposed to be sung in head voice- esp as Arturo is at his most miserable when these notes pop up.

Devia is good, albeit a little colourless. Mateuzzi has the high notes- shame everything under a G is flat, flat, flat. Have you heard the Freni/Pav recordings? I’m interested to hear them. I also have the Callas recording- but I can’t BEAR Di Stefano- too much scooping and painful open high notes. Is there a fabulous recording I’ve missed? If only La Scotto had done it- she would have been ideal. (I too am a Scotto worshipper!)

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!