Mad Scenes

Maria Callas

SKU: SAX2320

Barcode: SAX2320

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Callas did not make complete recordings of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and Bellini’s Il pirata, though, as the queen of La Scala, she enjoyed triumphs in both roles in 1957–1958. The vocally and dramatically demanding final scenes of both operas feature in this recital with Ophélie’s mad scene from Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, another coloratura extravaganza. When this recital first appeared in 1959, Gramophone wrote: “This is a most remarkable record, not only for its material… But for its astonishing vividness and dramatic poetry… It has been a thing of much wonder for me.”

This is Callas’ most famous single recital record. It contains three long scenes, each of which depicts an operatic heroine who has descended to a state of madness. No subject matter could have given the legendary soprano more scope to show the range of her dramatic and interpretative skill, and Callas sings with extraordinary intensity and sense of tragedy. The recordings were made in the space of just two days in September 1958. The Philharmonia Orchestra play with great flair and imagination under one of Callas’ favorite conductors, and these great performances were perfectly captured by EMI in vintage stereo sound. Testament’s new transfer conveys the atmosphere and range of the original recordings to perfection.

Maria Callas
The Philharmonia Orchestra
Nicola Rescigno, conductor

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Track Listings

Donizetti (Opera on the tragedy of Anne Boleyn)
1. Anna Bolena
Monica Sinclair, contralto
John Lanigan, tenor
Joseph Rouleau, bass
Duncan Robertson, tenor

Thomas (Ophelia's mad scene in Shakespeare's Hamlet)
2. Hamlet
a. A vos jeux
b. Partagez-vous mes fleurs
c. Et maintenant ecoutez ma chanson (Act 4)

Bellini (His Second Opera)
3. Il Pirata
a. Oh! s'io potessi
b. Col sorriso d'innocenza (Act 2)

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