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Maria Callas is at the top of her game, and still very much in her vocal prime. Her dramatic approach to "Tosca" is arguably even better captured in the live recordings from Covent Garden a decade later, but at that point her voice had lost some of its bloom; depending on your tastes, this may be the better example of her doing the role. Tito Gobbi owned the role of Scarpia, and considered it his finest characterization. Although he and Callas wouldn''t perform the opera together on-stage for another 10 years, the chemistry and tension they brought to those later live performances are already in evidence here, as if they have done these roles together many times. The excitement of the second act is electric. And Giuseppe di Stefano still sounds youthful and fresh, not yet vocally worn from years of heavy singing. He makes the perfect partner for Callas, bringing an optimistic passion to the opening scene that sets off her more complicated persona. His final "E lucevan le stelle" is truly heartbreaking.
Little can be added to what's been written about this landmark recording, except that Walter Legge's 1953 mono production yields nothing to modern Tosca recordings for vivacity and theatrical impact--especially Maria Callas's. The miraculous Victor de Sabata conjures up a vibrant, inspiring orchestral canvas that enables Callas and her stellar cohorts to work their magic. Tito Gobbi and Callas spur each other on to heights in which the characters take over from the singers in the listener's mind. Giuseppe Di Stefano is on his best behavior, and in fresher voice than on his fine Leontyne Price-Herbert von Karajan remake. On this set, EMI includes texts, translations, and notes that discuss this recording in the context of Callas's mercurial career. --Jed Distler
Hey,It's La Callas;one need not say anything more!!! (well,maybe just that I received this cd set promptly, in good condition,and that I am enjoying it immensely.)Published 2 months ago by The Cat's Meow ^-^
This is a brilliant Tosca. I know Callas had her critics, but I am not one of them. Well worth owning.Published 14 months ago by Susan G.
Considered, by many, to be the standard by which Tosca performances are judged. This recording has a volume problem for me. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Madeline
quick purchase at a fair price for a classic performance, I would recommend this item to any Opera lover. Contains classic performances by masters of their craft.Published 19 months ago by Steve O'Connell
I realize it is recorded in pre stereo hifi, but it is still spacious and clean. This finds the stars in top form and in their prime - Callas di Stefano & Gobbi. Read morePublished on July 12, 2012 by Joseph W. Giles
This is one of the great recording of the century.
All three singers included.
It does not seem like any other is on the horizon either.
Still I don't own it. Read more
The original recording of Tosca, by the legendary producer/engineer Walter Legge, was a masterpiece. So why does this CD so sound so bad? Read morePublished on November 15, 2009 by Great Faulkner's Ghost
I took my recording off the shelf after recently seeing the new Met Tosca. I'm not going to compare here, thats almost futile. Read morePublished on October 14, 2009 by a music fan
I bought the 1953 recording of Tosca at a second hand stall when I was in High School in 1997. I had just seen a stage performance of 'Masterclass' and was totally intrigued by... Read morePublished on March 6, 2009 by J. Vos