Classical Music online - News, events, bios, music & videos on the web.

Classical music and opera by Classissima

Maria Callas

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Tribuna musical

August 2

Donizetti British twosome: “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “Maria Stuarda”

Tribuna musical Out of Gaetano Donizetti´s vast production "Lucia di Lammermoor" is his best known operatic drama. The Walter Scott novel about the sad destiny of crossed lovers from rival clans has some similitude with Shakespeare´s "Romeo and Juliet". The reign of William and Mary is clearly mentioned. They were crowned in 1688 as King and Queen of England and Scotland after the defeat of James VII; the Restoration (the union of Scotland and England) had occurred in 1660. Lord Henry Ashton (Enrico in the opera) is the brother of Lucy (Lucia) and as a follower of James his future is in danger, so he needs the marriage of Lucy with Lord Arthur Bucklaw, advocate of William and Mary. But Lucy is in love with his enemy, Sir Edgar (Edgardo) Ravenswood. Librettist Salvatore Cammarano gave Donizetti material for his gift for musical dramatic expression and Romantic bel canto, and the opera is justly famous. One point must be made: until the appearance of Callas, Lucia was treated as a field day for coloratura sopranos rather than as a dramatic though florid role; this distortion, however, wasn´t of the composer´s time. Callas, led by Tullio Serafin, gave sense to every word whilst maintaining excellent technical execution. When we had Sills and Kraus at the Colón in 1972 our audience heard the real thing; and we were shown a more complete "Lucia" without the traditional cuts: Raimondo´s arias, the Madness scene with the reactions of those present including Enrico´s remorse, and the Tower tableau in which Enrico challenges Edgardo to a duel. How fares La Plata´s Argentino recent revival? Good enough though not brilliant vocally and orchestrally, but a wrongly conceived staging, for producer Rita Cosentino, an avowed feminist, moves the action to the Victorian period because according to her it was a patriarchal time of gender violence. However, precisely then Scotland was quite at peace with England and furthermore there were no fights among clans; also, Enrico may use Lucia as a way to save his political skin but it´s quite logical that he should be startled to know that Edgardo loves her. And Cosentino´s affirmation that "Lucia isn´t mad" simply denies the libretto. Also, she wants everything to happen within the house, obliterating the garden and fountain alluded in Lucia´s first aria; and later, Enrico, instead of receiving Lucia in an ambit with a desk, invades his sister´s own room. Cosentino only respects the cemetery of the last scene. Nicolás Boni´s stark stage design, Imme Möller´s depressing costumes and Rubén Conde´s shadowy lighting are in accordance with the producer´s ideas. The best singer was Darío Schmunck, in firm voice and with stylish phrasing as Edgardo. Fabián Veloz was a sturdy Enrico, more boorish than usual following Cosentino. Oriana Favaro started weakly and gradually found a stronger voice and demeanor; the Mad Scene showed little insight but was cleanly sung. Apart from a shouty Arturo from Sergio Spina, the others were quite adequate: Emiliano Bulacios as Raimondo, Rocío Arbizu (Alisa) and Maximiliano Agatiello (Normanno). Expressive, intense job from conductor Silvio Viegas (Brazilian) and good choral work (Hernán Sánchez Arteaga). Short shrift to a botched revival of an attractive opera: Donizetti´s "Maria Stuarda", in which, based on Schiller´s poetic justice in his play, we have a tremendous scene between Mary and Elizabeth that didn´t happen...but it works. This modest production of Clásica del Sur at the Teatro Luz y Fuerza had a disastrous orchestra and mediocre choir. It was weird to hear Elizabeth sung by a soprano called María Castillo de Lima who is a tenor member of the Colón´s Chorus! Enormous voice but often forced and distempered, she-he provides an uncomfortable experience. Mirta Arrua Lichi as Mary had a bad cold and bravely went on with frequent accidents, but her singing and acting in her good moments were expressive. Fabricio Gori has an agreeable lyrical tenor voice. Esteban Miotto was an experienced Lord Cecil, Lucas Miño sounded rather green as Talbot and Gabriela Ojeda, small-voiced but pleasant as Anna. Not one of conductor César Tello´s happy projects. For Buenos Aires Herald ​​

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

July 3

English summer opera sells 99 percent

Garsington Opera, 50 minutes’ drive from central London, has turned in record attendance figures for this summer. If the season were longer and the pop-up house larger (just 600 seats), it could probably do twice as well. The performance quality just keep on getting higher. We saw Rossini’s Turco in Italia yesterday – a piece of fluff for a summer’s night, redeemed by quicksilver comic direction (Martin Duncan), pinpoint orchestral playing (conductor: David Parry) and a sex-manic, melting, matchless account of Fiorilla by the inexhaustible Sarah Tynan – so swift about the stage you couldn’t imagine the role sung or played any better. The laughs came thick and fast. Geoffrey Dolton kept the cuckold role of Geronio just the right side of farce, Quirijn de Lang was a convincing Riviera Turk and if Katie Bray’s Zaida all but disappeared in the second act that was more Rossini’s fault than hers. Compared to the 1954 Callas recording from La Scala, this was lighter and more musical in every department. The notion that an English country house could match the home of Italian opera in a Rossini repertoire piece might sound absurd, but Callas’s voice was too shrill for Fiorilla, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni was portentous as the Turk, the rest of the cast was variable and the orchestra was decidedly poor. Give me Sarah Tynan at Garsington any summer’s night. photo: Alice Pennefather/Garsington Opera




Tribuna musical

June 28

​Bellini´s “Norma” starts Juventus Lyrica´s season.​/ ​The disastrous love of Roman commander and Druid priestess

"Norma" is undoubtedly Vincenzo Bellini´s masterpiece and a risky choice to start any operatic season, for its vocal and dramatic demands are of the highest order. It stands or falls by the choice of female singers; not only Norma, the Druid High Priestess, daughter of the Archdruid Oroveso, but also Adalgisa, the virgin of the Temple who innocently admits that the Roman proconsul Pollione loves her, provoking disaster because he is Norma´s lover and they have two children, unbeknown by the whole Gaul community. Before I go any further, let me say that the two artists who sang these roles in the second cast (the one I could see) justified being chosen and were the main reason to admit this revival, which had some flaws. But first, some background for those that aren´t familiar with this opera, an essential bel canto landmark. It is the eighth of his eleven operas and by far the most important of this short-lived composer (1801-35). His librettist, as in other six operas, was the renowned Felice Romani, based on Louis Alexandre Soumet´s tragedy; both this and the opera were premièred in the same year, 1831, though Soumet in Paris (April) and Bellini at Milan´s La Scala (December 26). Indeed, as said in Grove´s Dictionary, Bellini´s genius was all for lyrical expression: clarity, elegance and beauty of form. But it´s only in "Norma" that the beautiful melodies and the recitatives have such strong dramatic force. And naturally it became the top role in the career of Maria Callas. Time and place: Sacred forest of the druids during Roman occupation of Gaul, first century B.C. Druid in Celtic means "Knowing the Oak Tree". Julius Caesar tells us that the Druids took charge of private and public sacrifices, judged quarrels and decreed penalties. Norma does the rite of the mistletoe on the Sacred Stone in front of the Oak Tree. The druids were later suppressed by Tiberius (reigned AD 14-37). In the opera they want war against the Romans but Norma in Act One invokes the Moon ("Casta Diva") and says they must wait; however, in Act 3 she calls for war because of her rage against Pollione. Contradictory, Medea-like she wants to murder her children because they are Pollione´s blood but seconds later she embraces them. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a Greek tragedy. Mariana Carnovali faced the challenge of Norma with aplomb and musicality; the voice has a good timbre, she sang with line and fine highs. However, she lacks the dramatic impact for those moments of terrible truth such as the revelation of Pollione´s love for Adalgisa. Mezzo Nidia Palacios has had a distinguished European career in many roles and theatres; her return to our city is welcome, for she has firm vocal means and style; the duets with Norma were enjoyable and exact. Pollione is an ungrateful character and a difficult one; Nazareth Aufe barely coped with it. The experienced bass Mario De Salvo did an adequate Oroveso. With ringing voice tenor Ramiro Pérez gave relevance to Flavio, Pollione´s friend, and Romina Jofre was a correct Clotilde, Norma´s confidante. Hernán Sánchez Arteaga was both the conductor of the orchestra and the director of the choir; excepting a rather rough Overture, he proved an attentive supporter of the solo singers and he got excellent response in the choral fragments, especially those for male voices. The problem, once again, was the production. Florencia Sanguinetti avoided the prevailing sin of transporting everything to the Twenty First Century, but there are other ways to be wrong. The unit set by Marcelo Salvioli was aggressive, uncomfortable and unsuited: cutting rocks in a cliff and steps all over the stage certainly aren´t a Sacred Forest. Incongruously projections showed a glacier, a sea... and yes, suitably, a wood. Uncalled-for choreography for unexistent balletic music, added characters (Agénor, Clodomir) and slaves. The costumes by Cecilia Carini were better, and Rubén Conde handled the lighting well. But things like a hospital bed for the kids in a completely unbelievable "room" (Norma´s dwelling) dominated by rocks are totally contrary to this opera´s needs. ​For Buenos Aires Herald



Maria Callas
(1923 – 1977)

Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 - September 16, 1977) was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique, a wide-ranging voice and great dramatic gifts. An extremely versatile singer, her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini; further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner. Her remarkable musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.



[+] More news (Maria Callas)
Oct 22
parterre box
Oct 22
Norman Lebrecht -...
Oct 21
Norman Lebrecht -...
Oct 20
Topix - Opera
Oct 10
Royal Opera House...
Oct 10
Wordpress Sphere
Oct 10
Topix - Opera
Sep 16
parterre box
Sep 16
Wordpress Sphere
Sep 5
Iron Tongue of Mi...
Aug 31
Wordpress Sphere
Aug 30
Wordpress Sphere
Aug 26
Wordpress Sphere
Aug 25
Norman Lebrecht -...
Aug 24
Guardian
Aug 21
Topix - Opera
Aug 15
Wordpress Sphere
Aug 13
Topix - Opera
Aug 6
parterre box
Jul 31
Wordpress Sphere

Maria Callas




Callas on the web...



Maria Callas »

Great opera singers

Norma Ave Maria Bellini Puccini Verdi Mozart Diva

Since January 2009, Classissima has simplified access to classical music and enlarged its audience.
With innovative sections, Classissima assists newbies and classical music lovers in their web experience.


Great conductors, Great performers, Great opera singers
 
Great composers of classical music
Bach
Beethoven
Brahms
Debussy
Dvorak
Handel
Mendelsohn
Mozart
Ravel
Schubert
Tchaikovsky
Verdi
Vivaldi
Wagner
[...]


Explore 10 centuries in classical music...