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This review is from: Medea (Bernstein, Callas) (Audio CD)
The quality of this recording is so poor as to render the work virtually unlistenable. The chorus, brass, Barbieri and timpani suffer the worst distortion but also Callas when in full flight. This is very sad as undernesth the distortion it is obvious Callas was in fine dramatic and vocal form. The recording makes the orchestra sound dead which it surely did not under Bernstein's baton. There is a tiny merit in the 'historical' value of the work but if this is the best digital remastering can do then EMI really should not have bothered. Cherubini's majestic work is completly lost in this dreadful flat reproduction and the whole is a great disappointment. Buy a recent recording not this one and enjoy the opera. You won't have the occasional glimpses of Callas's rare talent and unique interpretation of Medea but you will save yourself considerable disappointment in purchasing a totally unacceptable standard of reproduction (there is much better around from the 1950s so no idea why this is so poor).
This recording should come with a health warning attached on the jacket !
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Initial post: 5 Sep 2009 12:46:01 BDT
Giorgos Zondiras says:
I think you are overstating the obvious. This is a bootleg copy of the live broadcast by Italian Radio. You cannot expect the greatest sound quality. Of course there is a live recording from Dallas (not issued by EMI) that sounds much better and Callas' interpretation is much more mature. But this Bernstein interpretation (who only stepped in the last minute taking over from Antonino Votto) is surely documenting a truly fierce interpretation by Callas, at times giving a glimpse of what 'the tiger' was capable of on stage.
One sad aspect is that her 1957 studio recording of Medea with Tullio Serafin conduction the La Scala Orchestra is not currently available through EMI due to contractual issues. That must be everyone's main version of Medea with Callas, maybe some old copies are lurking in local record shops! It is an absolute masterpiece and the sound (in experimental stereo) is much better than any live bootleg.
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