Maria Callas / Lucia di Lammermoor / I Puritani / Norma

DONIZETTI: Lucia di Lammermoor
Maria Callas (Lucia). Giuseppe Di Stefano (Edgardo). Tito Gobbi (Enrico). Raffaele Arié (Raimondo). Valiano Natali (Arturo). Anna Maria Canali (Alisa). Gino Sarri (Normanno).Chorus and Orchestra of Maggio Musicale, Florcne/Tullio Serafin, cond.
WAGNER: Dolce e calmo from Tristan und Isolde. BELLINI: Casta Diva and Ah! Bello a me ritorna from Norma. O rendetemi la speme, Qui la voce sua soave and Vien diletto, é in ciel la luna from I Puritani.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 084 (2 disks) TT: 2 hr. 12:58

BELLINI: I Puritani
Maria Callas (Elvira). Giuseppe Di Stgefano (Lord Arturo Talbo). Rolando Panerai (Sir Riccardo Forth). Nicola Rossi-L:emeni (Sir Giorgio). Aurora Cattelard (Enrichetta di Francia). Angelo Mercurialli (Sir Bruno Robertson). Carlo Forti (Lord Gualtiero). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Tullio Serafin, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIUO PACO 085 (2 disks) TT: 2 hr. 19:58

BELLINI: Norma
Maria Callas (Norma).Mario Del Monaco (Pollione). Giulietta Simionato (Adalgisa). Nicola Zaccaria (Oroveso). Gabriella Carturan (Clotilde). Giuseppe Zampieri (Flavio). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Antonio Votto, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 083 (2 disks) TT: 2 hr. 34:37

Once again we are indebted to Pristine Audio for resurrecting more important recordings of the past. With their state-of-the-art technology listeners can enjoy a unique aural experience hearing these performances in the best possible sound. This site mentioned the stunning reissue of the 1953 Callas Tosca (REVIEW), and now we have the three historic recordings listed above, Lucia di Lammermoor, Callas's first of the role, was recorded by EMI in Turin in 1953. I Puritani was recorded taped in March of the same year. Callas made two commercial recordings of Norma for EMI (1954 and 1960), and a number of live performances also are available. Pristine Audio has elected to resurrect the superb live recording Decamber 7,1955 from LaScala. Sound restorer Andrew Rose details the manifold problems of the transfer made from a dreadful original recording, and now it is more than llistenable. All three of these new reissues have been correctly pitched and equalized giving listeners the finest possible listening experiuence. The legion of Callas fans will welcome these; they show the soprano at the peak of her career—although even then some of her singing was edgy and approximate, qualities that got worse as time went on. More of the best of Callas can be heard on her first recording sessions recorded in 1949, music of Wagner and Bellini; six selections included as fillers in the Lucia set. Thank you, once again, Pristine Audio. These remarkable recordings are available from PRISTINE AUDIO

R.E.B. (December 2012)