It seems hard to believe, but 33 years have passed since that
electrifying night that Callas returned to the Met as Tosca.
Both performances were the hottest tickets in town. I was lucky to get
Family Circle seats for both.
The excitement was so thick, one could cut it with a knife. How would
Callas sound? Would she really sing, or cancel?
Our questions were answered. After a music stopping ovation at her
entrance, she started singing. I was shocked at the size of her voice.
It sounded very small. I had seen her sing Tosca in March of 1958 with
Tucker and London, and I remember thinking that her voice was very big.
Now, in 1965, it sounded about half that size.
Her acting was riveting, but her singing was very poor. She wobbled
terribly on any sustained note, and had terible register breaks. I
recall that at her exposed high C in the final, the audience gasped as
one at the sound that came out. I have never before or since heard
It was historical, and I was thrilled to have been there. But the
truth is that she sang very poorly. I love Callas, and I hate to have
to say this, but it was true.
Both performances have been released on CD: the March 19 one with
Corelli, and the March 25 one with Tucker, and they certainly bear out
exactly what I recall.
Ed Rosen<[log in to unmask]>
Legato Classics, Inc.