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Maria Callas ~ Complete Studio Recordings Box set, Enhanced

18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Enhanced, September 25, 2007
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$109.25 $79.99

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Editorial Reviews

It's pretty simple-this boxed set contains EVERYTHING La Divina recorded in the studio, including newly-licensed and newly-remastered material! That's the first 69 CDs; the 70th CD is a CD-ROM containing the tracklists and photos. And the set comes inside a hardcover slipcase containing a color booklet packed with even more photos of this most photogenic of opera singers. As for the contents, well, again, it's EVERYTHING she did in the studio. Go to for more info, because we can't describe 69 CDs!

Product Details

  • Performer: Maria Callas
  • Composer: Giacomo Puccini, Vincenzo Bellini, Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet, Giuseppe Verdi, et al.
  • Audio CD (September 25, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 70
  • Format: Box set, Enhanced
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000TIO4Z0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,000 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 109 people found the following review helpful By John Austen on June 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Of course this is a fabulous bargain, but there is also a lot to be said against it.

Firstly, there's the issue of presentation. The 69 cds and 1 cd-rom do come in serviceable, light cardboard sleeves (and the cds do slip out, without needing to be prized out of the sleeve), but they are identified only by number and work-title. Unlike some other sets, this one does not give a track listing on each sleeve. And that's a pain: you have to turn to the minimalist booklet, which contains the track listings and--well, that's about it. One very good thing is that the cds are arranged chronologically, so that you get to follow Callas's career. The bad news is that this arrangement makes it hard to find any individual title and, frustratingly, the booklet does not contain an index of which work is on which cd. You want to find the second recording of Norma? You gotta hunt for it. At this price, you expect the documentation to be minimal, but just a little bit of effort could have made this so much more user-friendly.

Second, there's the boxing. The cd sleeves are housed in a fairly flimsy cardboard "drawer," which slides into an extremely flimsy oblong cover This cover will probably have started to disintegrate in the mail by the time you get it (mine did). Because the cd sleeves are a thin cardboard rather than paper, the whole box takes up almost 9 inches of shelf-space. (Compare this with the economical and manageable 2 inches or so that the 30cds of EMI's Elgar set, with plain paper sleeves, fit into--a less showy format, but way more serviceable.)

Third, there's the cd-rom documentation. In a word, minimalist. A few photos, and the libretti of the operas (in the format of the booklets); nothing for the recital discs.

Fourth, there's the remastering.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By L. Mitnick on November 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Maria Callas,thirty years after her death, refuses to be forgotten, and nor should she be, for there will never be another like her. Her artistic, musical, and dramatic attributes are entirely too vast to go into here, and besides, Callas needs no advocates ---- she's still converting people to her artistry today, and probably always will. Why is she the most revered soprano of the Twentieth Century? Much of the answer lies here on the discs including in this beautiful box. The operatic repertoire represented here is immense -- Callas covered everything from Norma and Sonnambula through Turandot and Tosca, by way of Aida, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Lucia, and even two Rossini comedies. She was a vocal cameleon, taking on a different voice for every role she portrayed. She had a thousand colors in her voice, and her personal magnetism infused her singing. A perfect vocal emission? Certainly not, but it was always a great instrument of expression, and sometimes, of great beauty. Callas forged an operatic path that no other soprano dared to tread, possibly because she realized that her particular vocal sound was one which needed to be studied to be appreciated. Virtually all of the Callas performances here are models of their kind. Her colleagues (di Stefano, Tucker, Monti, Gobbi, Barbieri, Gedda, etc.) all shine alongside of her, and Tullio Serafin (her mentor), Herbert von Karajan, Antonino Votto, Gavazzini, and Galleria all provide exemplary leadership. This box is a must have for those who have yet to experience the artistry of the greatest operatic artist of the last century, one whose vast legacy will live forever.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Martijn13Maart1970 on October 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
To quote Tony Locantro in the booklet, Callas is the prima donna assoluta for now and all time. Her life itself was like a great Romantic opera, he said, a story of triumph, drama, and, finally, tragedy. But her art and life are too well known to discuss here.

What is left is, apart from the legend, the voice, of which fortunately a lot is recorded. This set has all the studiorecordings she ever made with EMI. Individually these records would add up to a lot of $$ to buy, so this set is wonderful. It comes in a nice box, and in compact paper cases. Of course, EMI could have made this set look more fancy, but then this atrractive price would not be possible I guess. It is all about the music in the end, and the quality of the cd's itself is superb. This set has I believe the latest remasters from Abbey Road Studio's, so it does not get better than this. It also comes with a good booklet, and extra info in pdf format can be downloaded at
Get this set, whether you are a fan, or just thinking about giving opera a try, since, as in art so seldom happens (apart from Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Caruso and La Callas), this is undisputed the best opera can get when it comes to a female voice. All that on 70 cds for almost nothing, what more could one want? Great EMI, hope a similar set on all live performances will follow?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By N. Nakanishi on January 26, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The set comes with 69 CDs worth of aria collections and 22 complete operas, which are (in the order of recordings);
La Gioconda (2 versions)
Lucia di Lammermoor (2 versions)
I Puritani
Cavalleria Rusticana
Tosca (2 versions)
La Traviata
Norma (2 versions)
La Forza del Destino
Il Turco in Italia
Madama Butterfly
Il Trovatore
La Boheme
Un Ballo in Maschera
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
La Sonnambula
Manon Lescaut

The EMI website says that these are "with brand new remasterings". The box specifically notes that Cetra recordings have been remastered for this set. I assume that the others are the most recent remasterings (the same ones used for Great Recordings of the Century?). The flimsy box and packaging require some care when handling. The 70th disk of the set is a Mac-compatible CD-ROM, from which librettos in the PDF format can be downloaded to your computer for all operas and arias (except, the libretto for Cavallera Rusticana seems missing for the Mac version). There is a photo gallery PDF, but I don't find any essay on the Mac CD-ROM.

For newcomers to Italian operas, this is it. For the price of 3-4 complete opera recordings, you are getting nearly the entire repertoire of the standards. I should note that most recordings here are monaural and you will hear occasional hisses. But, the power, emotion, and subtlety projected by the most celebrated opera singer in the history will easily come through.

For veteran collectors who know these recordings by heart, the only "negative" associated with this set is the feeling of dejection/envy that we once paid the full price for each disk.
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A few tracks cut a second short
Hello, Irvino

I've just got my set today, but the problem you mention isn't apparent, even when I compare it to the original box set issued in 1997.

What other cuts have you found to be cut short?

Jeffrey Round
Aug 6, 2008 by Jeffrey Round |  See all 2 posts
Kind of infuriating, isn't it?
Nearly all of my Callas opera sets are from live recordings, and I'm about to delve into the studios, but I'm just curious if there's a catch to this set. Will ALL the CDs be in their most currently remastered format? I also don't like how you don't get the librettos in booklets here, just CD-ROM... Read More
Aug 21, 2007 by Irvino al-Montegue |  See all 3 posts
I've just bought the box and yes, it does contain the latest remasters (unless the booklet credits are wrong, and save for a couple of exceptions).

The Fonit-Cetra recordings are newly remastered (2007).
Lucia 1953 is the 2004 Great Recordings Of the Century remaster.
Tosca 1953 is the 2002 GROC... Read More
Sep 8, 2007 by Laurent Chevassu |  See all 6 posts
Bad Track Names
Have you tried
There is a free ad supported version of their tune up software that works a lot of the time when other sources fail. It will also add missing cover art etc.
Jul 21, 2009 by Joseph R. Burling |  See all 2 posts
Disc 41 and 42
If you did, have u approached EMI asking for a replacement?
Jan 15, 2008 by Raymond Dooley |  See all 2 posts
1952 Gioconda (disc 3) Be the first to reply
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Maria Callas ~ Complete Studio Recordings
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