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1964 Tosca Comp Live

Giacomo Puccini Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 66.73
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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Ah! Finalmente!
2. E Sempre Lava!
3. Angelus Domini Nintiavit Mariae
4. Dammi I Colori
5. Recondita Armonia
6. Ma Con Quei Cani Di Volterriani
7. Pineo E Paniere
8. Gente La Dentro!
9. Mario!...Son Qui!
10. Ora Stammi A Sentir
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Tosca E Un Buon Falco!
2. Ha Piu Forte
3. Angelus Domini Nintiavit Mariae
4. Dammi I Colori
5. Recondita Armonia
6. Ma Con Quei Cani Di Volterriani
7. Pineo E Paniere
8. Gente La Dentro!
9. Mario!...Son Qui!
10. Ora Stammi A Sentir
See all 37 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

This performance--one of several from January 1964--marked Callas' return to the stage after a period of vocal restudy and hard work. But there are problems. The very highest notes tend to go wildly astray, flapping in the wind like flags, losing and regaining the pitch. But how many of them are there? 10? 20? Taken in context, it's a mere handful (albeit a highly audible handful), and the performance as a whole does not suffer. In short, Callas is otherwise brilliant, presenting us with a great portrait of Tosca the diva and Tosca the woman. Tito Gobbi, her frequent partner in this opera, is stunning as Scarpia, the incarnation of evil. Renato Cioni's Cavaradossi, is unsubtle and forgettable, and he mewls enough to make himself a nuisance. Cillario's leadership is tight and sympathetic. This release is welcomed--even if you already own a Tosca. --Robert Levine

Product Description


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5.0 out of 5 stars Last great Tosca from Callas June 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
This live-performance was recorded in 1964 during the legendary run of the Zeffirelli-production of Puccini's Tosca featuring Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Unlike the studio-recording she made after this run this recording is a unique thrill with Callas and Gobbi burning up the stage. Both were past their primes then but still capable of electrifying performances. For example, listen to Callas' singing "Dillo ancora la parola chi consola... dillo ancora!" sounding enraptured, loving, glowing, beautiful... She portrays not only the diva Tosca but the tormented lover. Fragile, devoted, yet proud and sometimes spoiled but always loveable. In act one she creates an incredible tension as Scarpia plays cat and mouse with her, culminating in the outcry "GIURO!". So many details, one loses count, especially in the torment-scene of Act II. She shows that BREATHING can be a meaning of the drama, a lesson she learned from such greats as Serafin and Gui. Listen to "A mostro! AH..." How she takes a shocked, tortured breath underlining Tosca's fear... And so on. Yet there are problems too, as there always are with Callas after 1959. There's a wobble in some long phrases, the climactic B is unsteady and sometimes she's gasping for air. Still, her and Gobbi are as exciting as can be and there are many beauties to be found here too. If you wish to hear Callas' Tosca in her fullest prime buy the legendary recording she made in 1953, also issued by EMI. But this one deserves a special place in each and every opera-collection. As for the rest of the cast, you may know Cioni from Sutherland's first Lucia, he's an ardent, attractive Mario even though not as hot-blooded as di Stefano or Corelli. Cillario conducts wonderfully and the sound was cleaned up well by EMI. Not the best Tosca in the world but a damn good one!
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last great Tosca from Callas June 7 2004
By Emma de Soleil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This live-performance was recorded in 1964 during the legendary run of the Zeffirelli-production of Puccini's Tosca featuring Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Unlike the studio-recording she made after this run this recording is a unique thrill with Callas and Gobbi burning up the stage. Both were past their primes then but still capable of electrifying performances. For example, listen to Callas' singing "Dillo ancora la parola chi consola... dillo ancora!" sounding enraptured, loving, glowing, beautiful... She portrays not only the diva Tosca but the tormented lover. Fragile, devoted, yet proud and sometimes spoiled but always loveable. In act one she creates an incredible tension as Scarpia plays cat and mouse with her, culminating in the outcry "GIURO!". So many details, one loses count, especially in the torment-scene of Act II. She shows that BREATHING can be a meaning of the drama, a lesson she learned from such greats as Serafin and Gui. Listen to "A mostro! AH..." How she takes a shocked, tortured breath underlining Tosca's fear... And so on. Yet there are problems too, as there always are with Callas after 1959. There's a wobble in some long phrases, the climactic B is unsteady and sometimes she's gasping for air. Still, her and Gobbi are as exciting as can be and there are many beauties to be found here too. If you wish to hear Callas' Tosca in her fullest prime buy the legendary recording she made in 1953, also issued by EMI. But this one deserves a special place in each and every opera-collection. As for the rest of the cast, you may know Cioni from Sutherland's first Lucia, he's an ardent, attractive Mario even though not as hot-blooded as di Stefano or Corelli. Cillario conducts wonderfully and the sound was cleaned up well by EMI. Not the best Tosca in the world but a damn good one!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Callas & Gobbi...a thrilling team at Covent Garden, 1964 June 2 2007
By Paul A. Tassone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Maria Callas' assumption of Floria Tosca combined with Tito Gobbi's Scarpia are the stuff of legend. They made two complete recordings of these roles together, in 1953 and 1964 respectively, though it was only in 1964 and 1965 that they appeared together on stage in this opera. Fortunately, there are recordings of them playing these roles in the theatre that provide a glimpse of what it must have been like to be present on one of these monumental nights in the theatre.

This present recording is from early in the series of Callas/Gobbi/Zeffirelli Tosca's at Covent Garden, dating from Jan 24, 1964. And, to my ears it is a fine recording as it perfectly captures the spirit of those performances. While it is true that both Callas and Gobbi had lost much of their respective vocal splendour by this stage, they are without doubt Tosca and Scarpia and thrillingly bring to light these great characters as set to the music of Puccini. From Callas there are some wobbly high notes but in this particular performance they are kept to a minimum, perhaps 3-4 at most. Throughout, Callas sing excitingly though it is apparent that the power and volume of her voice is reduced. However, it is a fully committed performance from start to finish and her concentration and will power are as evident as is her vocal accomplishments in the role. It's a truly legendary performance. What is interesting is that Callas receives no ovation from the audience on her entrance though there is enthusiastic applause after each act and after her stunning "Vissi d'arte", sung simply and as the prayer that it is.

Some people have well founded concerns about the sound quality of bootleg/private recordings of live performances such as this one. While the sound quality is less that would have been achieved in the studio or even if it had been recorded commercially, it is more than acceptable. Every word and syllable uttered is clear and the orchestra sounds vivid throughout. There are the inevitable sounds of the performers stomping around the stage and plenty of coughing from the audience but you do get a real sense of what it must have been like to be there. Also, the cost is so inexpensive it makes purchasing this set a given as it makes fascinating listening in comparison with the two Callas/Gobbi commercial recordings. True, there is no libretto but most Callas fans will already have at least one copy of the 1953 recording from EMI on CD so they will have a full libretto in a number of languages.

My advice: for Callas and Gobbi fans, grab a copy. It's a fascinating snapshot of a wonderful night in the theatre. For those who want to hear Callas as Tosca, start with the 1953 recording. This one is Callas at the end of her career when the voice was in decline. The first studio recording has her at the very top of her game both vocally and interpretively. This recording is not definitive as that one will always be but it is worth a listen.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars... Sept. 24 2007
By David Faulkenberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This was the second Tosca I acquired. The first time I had it it was on loan, and I had only three days to absorb what I could. At the time I was pleasantly familiar with Gobbi, and intensely burrowed in Frank Hamilton's records of Callas's career, so I knew (since it also had di Stefano) that this was something I should remember to buy. In those three days, I found the glory of Tosca in a way I never had before.

In an uncharacteristically logical approach, I started at the beginning. This is one of only a few recordings in my collection (and there are hundreds therein) where you can listen from the beginning and not be turned away by the comprimarii. The Spoletta, the Sciarrone, the Pastore, the Sagrestano, all done extremely well.

And, why don't I talk about the love triangle?
- Gobbi: The best Scarpia in existence. See my other reviews for details.
- Cioni: Not the most vibrant Cavaradossi, but gives a performance that, like Baum in Aída, blows away any vocal prejudice I may have previously had.
- Callas: Simply La Divina. She gives what is in my humble opinion the only real interpretation of Callas in existence. At this point, in interviews, we can find that she has a better understanding of the emotions behind the role. (It's the only thing for which one can thank Onassis. No need to discuss Omero.) Callas has been described as an artist in every manner.

In any case, anyone who wants to see what Callas is about: don't go for one role, one recording, one setting, one conductor, one partner in crime. The only way to truly understand what she was and what she did is to take in it all. So pick a recording. Any recording. See what you think.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great performance Nov. 10 2013
By bob turnley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the best sounding live recordings I've ever heard. And it's a great performance. I suppose the only reason this wasn't released commercially is the presence of Cioni who is a lightweight even by today's standards. I can only imagine that after paying Callas and Gobbi there wasn't enough money left to hire Bergonzi or Corelli for these performances. The most amazing thing is that Callas and Gobbi really don't sound that much different than they did in 1953. In fact until her very last note I didn't even notice a wobble in Callas' voice.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Callas and Gobbi junkies only. Warning: Cioni alert! Oct. 2 2005
By L. E. Cantrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Source: Live performance from 1964.

Sound: No more than fair.

Documentation: The usual Opera d'Oro offering. No libretto. Short essay on the history of the opera. Short summary of the plot. Track list.

Maria Callas is a very, very great singer who appeared in far too many dismal opera productions.

This is another performance on which I find it difficult to base an objective opinion. I bought it in an attempt to capture Callas in one of her greatest roles in a live setting. Well, that's what I got. Callas is ... Callas, that is to say, she is tremendous. For this particular helping of her greatness, though, you have to give her the benefit of a lot of goodwill. Her mighty conception of Floria Tosca is still present in full force, but in 1964 her execution is not at all what it once had been.

Tito Gobbi is, well ... Gobbi, one of the all-time greats. But 1964 is late for him, too, and behind all his dramatic power and charisma you can all but hear his voice fraying away with each bar.

Then there is Renato Cioni. Ehh, the very thought of that man makes my teeth itch. At some point, Cioni possessed a nice, useful, second-class voice, the sort of thing that is invaluable for a house tenor who eases the load on a star performer. Somewhere along the line, though, he must have become convinced that he, himself, was a star. Now, Pavarotti, born as he was with a tremendous voice, got away on ego and a silly bag of tricks for many years. Cioni, born much lower on the tenorial evolutionary scale, couldn't carry it off for ten seconds. He is the anchor that drags down any performance, even Joan Sutherland's high-flying first recording of "Lucia." Here in "Tosca," Cioni is, alas ... Cioni.

If you want a great "Tosca" with Callas and Gobbi, get the studio recording with diStefano. If you absolutely must have a live Callas/Gobbi "Tosca," this one, at least, is not very expensive and it offers better sound than the live Mexico City version (also on Od'O), although the latter has attractions for those who like audience excitement.

In the normal course of events, I'd give this recording four stars for sub-par Callas and Gobbi, then deduct one or even two stars for the wretched Cioni. However, it appears that, unlikely as it may seem, some people actually have a taste for that man's tenorial whining, so ... four stars.
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