Lucia di Lammermoor – Callas

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Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai, Modesti, Zampieri, Villa, Carlin; von Karajan. 1954.

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Callas: the most influential soprano of our time
by Stefan Zucker

Callas affected singing in three ways. Before her, the repertory had stagnated. There was no longer the influx of new works on which opera always had thrived, largely abandoning those of the past. With her cathartic impersonation of Anna Bolena, Callas caused the world to realize that operas from the bel canto period could have dramatic vitality. She popularized their revival, broadening the repertory and making “exhumations” the alternative to new works. She restored the role of Amina in La sonnambula to dramatic coloraturas. She caused the world to value emphasis on words in the interpretation of bel canto operas.

In the vein of dramatic sopranos from Giuditta Pasta onward, Callas was a vocal actress. To the extent that she was dramatic but flawed and sang Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, she further recalled Pasta. (Pasta, however, didn’t wobble; Callas didn’t flat.) Unlike many vocal actresses, Callas had vocal agility. Unlike soprano leggeros, she sang coloratura in full-bodied tones.

This Lucia performance at times is electrifying. The reason it isn’t better known is that the master tapes are missing some small fragments from the Mad Scene and elsewhere.


Lucia di Lammermoor
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Herbert von Karajan, direttore
18 gennaio, 1954

Lucia…. Maria Callas
Edgardo…. Giuseppe Di Stefano
Enrico…. Rolando Panerai
Raimondo…. Giuseppe Modesti
Arturo…. Giuseppe Zampieri
Alisa…. Luisa Villa
Normanno…. Mario Carlin

Act I
1. Sinfonia
2. Percorrete le spiagge vicine
3. Tu sei turbato?
4. Cruda, funesta smania
5. Il tuo dubbio è ormai certezza
6. La pietade in suo favore
7. Ancor non giunse
8. Regnava nel silenzio
9. Quando rapita in estasi
10. La vicina soglia
11. Sulla tomba che rinserra
12. Qui di sposa eterna fede
13. Lucia fra poco a te verrà
Act II
14. Appressati, Lucia
15. Il pallor funesto orrendo
16. Soffriva nel pianto
17. Che fia?
18. Se tradirmi tu potrai
19. Per te d’immenso giubilo
20. Dov’è Lucia?
21. Chi mi frena in tal momento
22. T’allontana, o sciagurato
Act III
23. D’immenso giubilo
24. Ah, cessate quel contento
25. Eccola! O giusto cielo!
26. Il dolce suono
27. Ardon gl’incensi
28. Del ciel clemente un riso
29. Spargi d’amaro pianto
30. Tombe degli avi miei
31. Fra poco a me ricovero
32. O meschina!
33. Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali

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