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Callas's Indian summer?,
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This review is from: Maria Callas At Covent Garden 1962 & 1964 [DVD]  (DVD)
The filmed legacy of Callas is not extensive so we should be grateful for all we have. These performances from the early sixties were made when she was in semi-retirement from the stage (blame Aristotle Onassis!), with concerts predominating over appearances in opera, and the voice noticeably winding down - probably as much through lack of practice and motivation as anything else. Yet her phrasing and musicality are never in doubt - her Carmen arias alluring (she never sang the role on stage, and I think that shows, not least in the jumbled words), the Don Carlos appropriately tragic (here, though, she is in competition with her unforgettable rendition from a Hamburg concert three years earlier, fortunately also preserved on film), and of course the famous Tosca Act II complete, with Gobbi in equally exciting form. All Puccini fans will want to have that performance, and all Callas fans know already that these are 'must have' recordings. Even those who don't care for the actual sound of the voice will (I think) agree on the musicianship and commitment that she brought to all of her performances; and for those who see a premature decline resulting from a flawed technique, at least remember that she was singing Santuzza at the age of 15, Tosca before she was out of her teens, Fidelio, then after the war Gioconda, Turandot, Isolde, Brünnhilde (the last immediately followed by Elvira in Bellini's Puritani!), Aida, Norma, Trovatore, Traviata, Lucia, Sonnambula, and all the rest - and in this DVD we see her still knocking out a wonderful Tosca at age 40. That isn't a short career for a dramatic soprano!