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1953: Tosca: Comp (Ltd Ed) (10


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000063UNA
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #218,478 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act One: Ah! Finalmente! - Franco Calabrese/Melchiorre Luise/Giuseppe Di Stefano
2. Act One: Dammi I Colori...Recondita Armonia - Giuseppe Di Stefano/Melchiorre Luise
3. Act One: Gente La Dentro! - Giuseppe Di Stefano/Franco Calabrese/Maria Callas
4. Act One: Mario! Mario! Mario! - Orch E Coro Del Teatro Alla Scala, Milano/victor De Sabata
5. Act One: Ah, Quegli Occhi...Quale Occhio Al Mondo Puo Star Di Paro - Maria Callas/Giuseppe Di Stefano
6. Act One: E Buona La Mia Tosca - Giuseppe Di Stefano/Franco Calabrese/Melchiorre Luise
7. Act One: Un Tal Baccano In Chiesa - Tito Gobbi/Melchiorre Luise/Angelo Mercuriali
8. Act One: Tutto E Chairo...Tosca? Che Non Mi Veda...Mario! Mario! - Tito Gobbi/Maria Callas/Melchiorre Luise
9. Act One: Ed Io Venivo A Lui Tutta Dogliosa - Maria Callas/Tito Gobbi
10. Act One: Tre Sbirri, Una Carrozza - Tito Gobbi/Angelo Mercuriali
Disc: 2
1. Act Two: Tosca E Un Buon Falco! - Tito Gobbi/Dario Caselli
2. Act Two: Ha Piu Forte - Tito Gobbi/Dario Caselli/Angelo Mercuriali
3. Act Two: Meno Male! - Tito Gobbi/Angelo Mercuriali/Giuseppe Di Stefano
4. Act Two: Dov'e Dunque Angelotti? - Tito Gobbi/Giuseppe Di Stefano/Angelo Mercuriali/Maria Callas
5. Act Two: Ed Or Fra Noi Parliam Da Buoni Amici...Sciarrone, Che Dice Il Cavalier? - Tito Gobbi/Maria Callas/Dario Caselli/Giuseppe Di Stefano
6. Act Two: Orsu, Tosca, Parlate - Tito Gobbi/Maria Callas/Giuseppe Di Stefano
7. Act Two: Basta, Roberti - Orch E Coro Del Teatro Alla Scala, Milano/victor De Sabata O
8. Act Two: Nel Pozzo...Del Giardino - Tito Gobbi/Dario Caselli/Maria Callas/Giuseppe Di Stefano
9. Act Two: Se La Giurata Fede Debbo Tradir - Tito Gobbi/Maria Callas
10. Act Two: Vissi D'Arte - Maria Callas
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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 recordings of Tosca in vivacity and theatrical impact--especially that of Maria Callas. All the more so with this marvelously remastered edition. The miraculous Victor de Sabata conjures a vibrant, inspiring orchestral canvas that enables Callas and her stellar cohorts to work their magic. Tito Gobbi and Callas spur each other to such heights that the characters replace 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

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By OperaSeria on Feb. 18 2004
Format: Audio CD
In order not to repeat the reviews and waste space here, I encourage customers to check this same opera with the same cast under the old version still listed on Amazon (you will recognize it by the black cover and photo of Callas on that version). While the editing errors of which there were a few in the previous incarnation as well as some horrendous noises and overload in the sonics, this version is transferred under pitch. It sounds off throughout the entire work - when you do a side by side the artificially improved sound is immediately noticeable followed by the differences in pitch between the 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2003 versions. When will EMI get it correct? You may want to wait if Naxos issues it from the vinyl to hear sounds closer to the original vinyl. A disappointment from EMI once again.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording has received so much recognition over the years, the best I can offer are details on this latest release. I have gotten all three of them- 1986,1997, and now this. If /when EMI releases another upgraded series of their classic recordings, I'm going bankrupt. Anyway...
Opening the set, the slipcase completely encloses the jewel case, and inside are 3 nice b/w photos of Callas performing and recording Tosca. Inside the jewel case, where libretto books are usually tucked, is a handsome booklet commemorating the first 100 releases in the 'Great Recordings of the Century' Series, and paying tribute to Callas herself. Since the booklet is in English/French/ German, the text is brief but the photos bring great memories.
The actual notes& libretto are in the outer slipcase. The essay 'Callas and Tosca' has been replaced by an interesting new essay by Richard Osborne, 'Victor de Sabata conducts Tosca.' In a set devoted to Callas' legacy, the deletion of the original essay is puzzling.The synposis is new but similiar matching the added cuing in the new addition. Disc one has gone from 10 to 16 tracks, disc two from 20 to 28.
EMI's 'Great Recordings of the Century' releases have brought differing improvements to previous releases. In the Kempe Lohengrin set, for example, the sound is fuller than the first release, but you need to compare closely to really hear the difference. This Tosca, however, has really been moved into a bigger, more resonant, but actually clearer space. The difference over both previous sets is obvious, and, in both the 'Te Deum' and the murder scenes, really striking. I think this edition benefits Gobbi perhaps most of all, his commanding voice seeming more present than ever before.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The Supreme Tosca In Its Best Edition Yet May 15 2002
By D. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording has received so much recognition over the years, the best I can offer are details on this latest release. I have gotten all three of them- 1986,1997, and now this. If /when EMI releases another upgraded series of their classic recordings, I'm going bankrupt. Anyway...
Opening the set, the slipcase completely encloses the jewel case, and inside are 3 nice b/w photos of Callas performing and recording Tosca. Inside the jewel case, where libretto books are usually tucked, is a handsome booklet commemorating the first 100 releases in the 'Great Recordings of the Century' Series, and paying tribute to Callas herself. Since the booklet is in English/French/ German, the text is brief but the photos bring great memories.
The actual notes& libretto are in the outer slipcase. The essay 'Callas and Tosca' has been replaced by an interesting new essay by Richard Osborne, 'Victor de Sabata conducts Tosca.' In a set devoted to Callas' legacy, the deletion of the original essay is puzzling.The synposis is new but similiar matching the added cuing in the new addition. Disc one has gone from 10 to 16 tracks, disc two from 20 to 28.
EMI's 'Great Recordings of the Century' releases have brought differing improvements to previous releases. In the Kempe Lohengrin set, for example, the sound is fuller than the first release, but you need to compare closely to really hear the difference. This Tosca, however, has really been moved into a bigger, more resonant, but actually clearer space. The difference over both previous sets is obvious, and, in both the 'Te Deum' and the murder scenes, really striking. I think this edition benefits Gobbi perhaps most of all, his commanding voice seeming more present than ever before. The orchestra projects more tone color also, adding even more power to De Sabata's inspiring conducting.
Given the choice then, buy this newest edition without hesitation, especially if you have not heard this set before.
Whatever edition, this peformance should be experienced by all music lovers, even if they avoid opera in general or Puccini in particular. Jealousy, love, hope, rage, or strength, Callas conveys the essential emotions of Tosca at each climactic moment. Di Stefano, if less a thinking performer than Callas or Gobbi, sounds magnificent. His 'e lucevan le stelle' at the start of Act III is really electrifying. The entire cast, under de Sabata's leadership, convinces you that Puccini,no less than Handel or Mozart, demands an authentic performance style.
This 'special edition' does preserve an historic event. Thanks EMI... Just let me live with this set for a few weeks until the 'Ultimate Callas Edition' rolls out.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Treasure that will never lose its value. July 27 2002
By John Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There could be no justification for failing to award five stars or refusing to pay the high prices sometimes required to buy this classic recording of "La Tosca". The opera itself, already more than 100 years old, is one of the best we have, with three-dimensional characters involved in various levels of conflict, and with a great Puccini score.
Walter Legge was in charge of this production. This "studio" recording was made at La Scala, Milan in the early 1950s. The sometimes-ungrateful acoustics of that renowned theatre have never been heard to better advantage. Just listen to the opening orchestral flourish! Giuseppe di Stefano is vocally very much at home in the role of Cavaradossi, the ardent young painter who is sympathetic to an escaped political prisoner. During his first aria, the comments of the sacristan are not allowed to turn it into a duet. In glorious voice for once, Callas immediately establishes the character of Tosca - imperious, suspicious, and jealous, but at the same time vulnerable and full of longing for the time when she and Cavaradossi can be together after her opera performance of that night. Tito Gobbi too, as Scarpia, is well in command of the vocal range of his part, even the difficult high end, and manages to humanize his role as the manipulative, lustful, and ruthless chief of police.
One does not usually go home after a "Tosca" performance full of admiration for the conductor. The success of this recording, however, is very largely due to the superb drive, thrust and textural clarity achieved by the conductor Victor de Sabata. If any one passage is likely to outlast all others in your memory, it is few minutes before the end of the opera. How that "firing squad" theme seems to shriek here! How proud Tosca seems to sound, now that her successful ruse for faking Cavaradossi's death appears to have succeeded!
Unforgettable moment like this, and invaluable recordings like this, make us grateful to be able to treasure them forever.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Classic recording in a deluxe package July 10 2002
By klavierspiel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe this recording is about to reach the half-century mark. The performance might have been recorded yesterday, so clearly do the performers' and producers' intentions leap to the ear. EMI's deluxe new edition has a slipcase, a booklet packed with libretto, vivid photographs and thoughtful essays in multiple languages.
Most important of all, though, an egregious editing error that was made on this recording's previous CD incarnation (involving Callas' cries of "Mario! Mario!" on her first entrance, and discussed thoroughly by Robert Seletsky, who is a reviewer on this site) has been corrected. The mono sound is richer and the voices more vivid than in many more up-to-date CDs I've heard.
In the end, though, there is the performance. If one were to listen with a heart of stone, one might admit that Callas' top even in 1953 can turn strident, and that Tito Gobbi likewise seems pressed in high-lying passages, his tones turning white and sharp in pitch. The fact is, minor vocal flaws are of no consequence when they belong to two performers with such vivid personalities, such theatrical magnetism, such verbal clarity and understanding of the drama of Puccini and Sardou. The clarion voice of di Stefano in his prime is hardly a liability, either.
Here's to fifty more years for this timeless recording masterpiece.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Grand, classic performance ruined once again by EMI... Feb. 18 2004
By OperaSeria - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In order not to repeat the reviews and waste space here, I encourage customers to check this same opera with the same cast under the old version still listed on Amazon (you will recognize it by the black cover and photo of Callas on that version). While the editing errors of which there were a few in the previous incarnation as well as some horrendous noises and overload in the sonics, this version is transferred under pitch. It sounds off throughout the entire work - when you do a side by side the artificially improved sound is immediately noticeable followed by the differences in pitch between the 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2003 versions. When will EMI get it correct? You may want to wait if Naxos issues it from the vinyl to hear sounds closer to the original vinyl. A disappointment from EMI once again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great Callas, a mediocre conductor Feb. 2 2012
By Ron Elguera - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is no doubt whatsoever that Callas single-handedly changed the course of opera forever and is justifiably credited for rescuing this entire art form from sinking into oblivion. I must confess I never particularly cared for Callas' sound and could never understand why so many idolized her. When I saw Callas on film, I understood. In order to have fully appreciated Callas, it was necessary to have seen her on stage for it was on stage her performance was astonishing. It has been said that the history of opera is divided into two periods: BC and AC (Before Callas and After Callas)....no argument from me on that point. She was opera's first true 'singing actress'. Having done some research on her, I have come to the conclusion that she was the most unjustly maligned, tragic, misunderstood soprano that ever lived. Anyone interested in knowing what Callas was really like, I highly recommend Franco Zeferelli's DVD, 'Callas Forever' as it portrays the true Callas to have been kind, sensitive and gentle.
That said, as I write my own review of this Tosca recording, I see angry villagers with torches gathering 'round my front door. Albeit this is a satisfying rendition of Tosca, I simply don't believe it stands up to the Karajan/Price recording. It just doesn't...and I believe those who insist that this Callas recording surpasses all others, including the Karajan/Price, are loyal, die-hard Callas fans.
De Sabata's conducting is adequate but curiously detached. Tosca is a hugely emotional, passionate work....melodrama at its very best! In order to do real justice to this opera, a conductor must reach down into the depths of the soul to express anger, lust, passion, terror, and ecstatic love. De Sabata follows the score faithfully yet one gets the distinct feeling that he conducts from the brain rather than the heart.
Callas is in full command of her voice and uses it well. Still, the Callas sound, by itself, without the advantage of her utterly captivating stage presence, lacks the round, full, luscious tones of Price.
Di Stefano, who also sings in the Karajan/Price version, delivers a beautiful, lyrical Cavaradossi. He was older when he sang the Karajan/Price and has been criticized for sounding 'pushed'. This may be true, but I find his later recording to be dramatically more satisfying due to the fact Cavaradossi is under more stress than any other operatic tenor. Furthermore, in this Sabata interpretation, the 'Vittoria, Vittoria!' is cut short!!! His Act III E Lucevan le Stelle is meltingly beautiful, but when one stops to consider that he just spent the night with his head in vice, gushing blood all over....'meltingly beautiful' just doesn't seem to fit. For my money, on pitch, but a little pushed makes more dramatic sense.
Tito Gobbi has the perfect voice for Scarpia. His sound is nasal and menacing which makes a great villain. Gobbi's Iago is unsurpassed. On film, Gobbi does Scarpia opposite Callas and together they make a riveting team! On this recording, I find Gobbi's Scarpia to be satisfying, yet, perhaps due to De Sabata's conducting, he brings out an aristocratic side to this character which in my opinion, diminishes the essence of pure evil which defines Scarpia.
In short, for Callas aficionados, this recording is a must. For Tosca aficionados, such as myself, go with the Karajan/Price recording...you will find it far more satisfying. Now I must go address all those Callas fans outside my door holding torches.
For anyone interested, please take a look at my illustrated opera librettos here on Amazon The Fully Illustrated Libretto of Puccini's Madama Butterfly The Fully Illustrated Libretto of Ravel's L'Enfant et Les Sortileges (Librettos) The Fully Illustrated Libretto of Gian Carlo Menotti's the Medium

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