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Subject: Re: Callas remembered
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:19:25 -0500

text/plain (45 lines)

I believe that Idia was asking about the book on Callas by Nadia Stanicoff.
 I personally don't care much for it because it deals with the post-l965
Callas and tells nothing about the attributes that made her what she was and
is.  It's not a happy read, and it (to me, anyway) shows that La Callas,
especially in those last years, was not a happy lady and may well have been
in desperate need of psychiatric help. 
In view of her war-time experiences in Greece, her fractured relationship
with her mother, her on and off relationship with Artisotle Onassis, her
poor sense of judgement, this is obviously a probability.   Her close
relationships with international celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard
Burton, Omar Scariff, and so many others in the "jet set" did nothing to
alleviate her misery.   Hers was not a happy life, especially during the
last fifteen years.  And then there was her addiction to sleeping pills,
which is well documented.  
      Speaking of Callas, I cannot recommend highly enough that Warners big
red box that contains all of her studio recordings.  They all sound
wonderful, and they put a very different complexion on the Callas voice. 
The recordings that surprise me most are the stereo operas and recitals that
were recorded in the very late 1950s and early 1960's.  The real surprise
for me is the 1959 Lucia and the 1960 Norma.  The remastering done by
Warners has mitigated much of the vocal unsteadiness as heard on the EMI
versions.  Have listened to the 1960 Norma many times, and I find that it is
a much more towering performance than the one she recorded six years
earlier.  The quiet singing is very beautiful, and again the blatant vocal
problems on high have been greatly minimized by the remastering.
This makes me wonder whether EMI ever really captured her as faithfully as
they could have.  The musical and interpretative genius of course still
remains, but the voice itself (even in the later recordings of the 1960's)
sounds far more even, secure, and balanced that they did on the previous EMI
editions.  Bur for me, the real revelation is the 1960 Norma, for me still
THE Norma of Norma recordings.  But what do I know?  
      Interesting how the lady refuses to be forgotten.  

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