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Subject: Re: The Callas discussion
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Fri, 5 Aug 2016 23:56:31 -0400

text/plain (48 lines)

Just a comment re the recently remastered complete Callas set, which I assume is the set 
to which Mr. Serenius was referring.  And which, by the by, I listen to on CDs played on a 
very good but not extraordinary sound system.  

I have not listened to the entire thing yet; that is going to be an ongoing project.  But I can 
say that everything I have heard so far is simply a revelation, in terms of sound and 
particularly the sound of Callas' voice.  The encomiums for this edition have not been 
exaggerated.  I really do feel as if I am hearing Callas as I never heard her before.  And no, 
that does not mean that I have never appreciated her before now.  But it does mean that I 
appreciate her more than ever, if that is possible.  Certainly I HEAR her recordings like 
never before.  Callas' voice has a clarity that did not always come across in previous issues, 
and top notes are not as shrill (although the wobble is still there).  There is great body and 
presence to the sound.  Balance between voices and orchestra is excellent, which it has 
frequently not been in previous LP and CD issues (often with the orchestra too recessed).  
This is important, as Callas' voice picks up more colors and has more presence with the 
orchestra sounding like it should.  I have not done a comparison to the original LPs, but in 
terms of CD, this set far outstrips the previous issues, particularly the atrocious late-90s 
"Callas Edition" with the black and white photos on the covers.  Serious Callas collectors can 
now consign those travesties to the scrap heap where they belong.  (The original CD issues 
with the Christian Steiner photos on the covers are much better, but nowhere near as good 
as the current remastering.)

The entire set is a model for the way this sort of thing should be done.  Not only is the end 
product spectacular in terms of the sound, but the documentation and detailed account of 
the restoration process is superb as well.  The set includes a beautiful book with interesting 
essays and rare pictures and copies of correspondence.  Fortunately, for those who don't 
want to spring for the whole thing (I am of a completist bent in my collecting), many if not 
all of the individual operas are available separately.  Those who, like me, want it all can get 
the set for about $200 on Amazon.  And if that seems steep, consider that you are getting 
these unique historic treasures for less than $3.00 a disc.   

I have not yet gotten to the Verdi album with the Macbeth arias - which I have known and 
loved since my junior year in High School - but I am going to listen to it tonight.  Can't wait.


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