Friday, June 10, 2011

Donizetti - Anna Bolena - Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Gavazzeni


I must confess that I was totally transfixed by Callas's singing in Anna Bolena. I am not normally an uncritical Callas fan - I find that her tendency to sing sharp and her tone to assume an acidic quality detract from her unparalleled ability to infuse musical phrases and words with meaning. But this is one of the occasions when the voice was doing exactly what she was asking it to do. And, in truth, she was asking it to do incredible things which invariably come off. It is a tremendous performance, culminating in a death scene that had me in tears and sent the image audience of La Scala into wild paroxysms. It is hard to imagine what this performance must have been like in the flesh, but this recording suggests the magical heights an artist can reach when she has the 'flow'. Simionato is pulled along by Callas to give one of her greatest performances, rising to match Callas in their magnificent duet. This is a recording that truly makes one understand why opera can hold some of the most intense experiences in a person's life. A treasure.

Performer: Maria Callas, Giulietta Simionato, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Plinio Clabassi, Luigi Rumbo, Gianni Raimondi, Gabriella Carturan Conductor: Gianandrea Gavazzeni Orchestra/Ensemble: Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra, Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus

flac, booklet

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