Callas et al., Lucia di Lamermoor Sextet, live in Berlin, 1955, von Karajan (c)
Those who know me well know that my interest in opera was launched by good, Italian pressings of Callas (this was before CDs existed, so I am dating myself). I consider myself to be as much of a Callas-aholic as anyone. So, here I am, starting a music blog, and, no Maria! Egads! So many people have said so many things about her, that I have little to add. But I do have a few performances to highlight.
Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor is a bel canto opera (we will eventually get to bel canto, verisimo, etc) written by Donizetti in 1835. It’s loosely based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott. And in course, as in so many operas, the title character Lucia goes mad at the end. File that under misogyny in opera, another topic we will come to.
This performance is famous because of the very well-known sextet “Chi mi frena in tal momento?”. This performance was live in Berlin in 1955, I believe. It was conducted by von Karajan, who was not known for bel canto opera. However, here he is wonderful. And what is even more wonderful is that the Berlin audience goes so wild over the performance, that von Karajan orders the singers to repeat it. Besides Callas, the other singers were: Giuseppe di Stefano/Rolando Panerai/Nicola Zaccaria/Giuseppe Zampieri/Luisa Villa/Coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milano.
Here is the link:
Now, of course there is more. The ancestor of this performance is the following one, probably recorded acoustically. Which one do you like better?
Galli-Curci, Caruso, Minnie Egener, Giuseppe De Luca, Angelo Bada and Marcel Journet