Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Maria Callas - At Covent Garden 1962 and 1964|
Actors: Maria Callas, Renato Cioni, Tito Gobbi, Robert Bowman, Dennis Wicks
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
The second half of this recording is an important item in the too-scanty video discography of Maria Callas. Matched with another great singing actor, Tito Gobbi as the lecherous, hypocritical Scarpia, she participates in... more »
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O My Goodness!
Jim Player | Rochester, NY, USA | 03/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard about this performance (Tosca) nearly 30 years ago when I was a teenager and new to the world of opera. Since then it had stuck in the back of my mind, occasionally being brought intensely to the forefront whenever a snippet of it was shown during the occasional documentary.Here it is, after three decades, it's going on 2 a.m., and I've had one of the most profound experiences in recorded opera.....whew!First of all, this is a barebones dvd: Chapter list and some brief but interesting notes in the accompanying liner.Then there are the performances...Callas in concert at Covent Garden in 1962. "Tu che la vanità" from Don Carlos, plus the Habanera and Seguedille from Act 1 of Carmen. Callas sings with the expected intensity in the Verdi, and with atypical jovolity and coyness in the Bizet, which are all ably conducted by the young Georges Prêtre. If this were the entire content of this dvd, it would be worth the cost.But along comes Act 2 of Tosca, from two years later. Holy Toledo! Renato Cioni sings Cavaradossi just adaquetely, and not really serving a whole lot of dramatic purpose with a standard performance. Robert Bowman as Spoletta and Dennis Wicks as Sciaronne are better in their acting, but not very impressive vocally. The conductor, Cillario, leads without much insight...again, standard opera fare.Obviously, the big bucks went to Callas, Gobbi, and Zeffirelli who all certainly earned their pay. Callas and Gobbi had seen better days vocally, especially Callas who, though in pretty good voice, sounds downright nasty here and there. But those very few exceptions are far and few in between.Here are two masters, two artists at the very top of their craft, two legendary performers giving a definitive performance of sight and sound. From the beginning of the act, Gobbi dominates with a presence that few could ever hope to do. And when Callas finally enters, the sparks fly. Nearly every gesture, every vocal inflection, every subtle nuance carries weight that cannot be measured. There are very very few moments of stage mannerisms, so complete are their portrayals. While not always pretty vocally, they show off to the world why they dominated the opera stage during their prime. The intensity they create together is incredible, seldom letting up in the cat and mouse game they play.Technically, the picture is good, but not great.Pretty good by early 60's television standards. The camera work for the most part is well done, save for a few instances of poor angles or exclusionary closeups that can be pretty frustrating.Overall, it is quite good.Zeffirelli, the ultra conservative, directs a wonderful production,but when you go back in time, you see how little he really changes over the years.For all it's relatively minor shortcomings, this is one of the greatest operatic moments on film. The earlier clips are priceless, but after a (literally) hair raising Tosca, you may barely remember them! 5 stars to the 10th power! Thank you EMI!"
Boz | 10/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of her Met performance of 1964, Rudolf Bing said,"There never was such a Tosca." After seeing the video of Act 2, I must agree. Every note, every phrase, every movement is perfection. She IS Tosca, and we are humbled and grateful to have witnessed her performance."
Tosca, finalmente mia! ...
J. Meija | Cincinnati, OH United States | 09/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally we have the 1962 Covent Garden concert on DVD (previously it was available only on VHS). Of course, for many Callas fans, the coulomb lapse at the end of "tu che vanita" is piece of cake, but this is not the only reason to have this sound document. Maria is relaxed and her voice is is good condition (you will not hear any problems in the upper register here). She is happy and that's all we need from and outstanding artist. One should physically see the young Georges Pretre (with whom Callas recorded in these years Carmen). He conducts in the very extraordinary way, especially the I and III Act preludes from Carmen. The (1964) II act of Tosca with Gobbi and Cioni is an valuable material where Callas shows that she is still THE Queen. Gobbi is a little in rush and one can see that he was getting old. You cannot compare this performance with the 1958 Paris Gala concert (also with Maria, available on DVD). There is not that charm anymore... But despite all the pros and cans, this DVD is an additional step in the journey of the Callas appreciation; and you know that video is always a big deal in opera. Buy it today and you will be fascinated with the presence of Callas!"
"THIS is the kiss of Tosca!"
William Bingham | Tuscaloosa, AL USA | 06/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And she plunges the dagger into the breastbone of her tormenter, Scarpia, and then it gets really good. She rises
over him as he staggers back mortally wounded and roars, "Did you torture me enough?...And so I forgive you." Most everyone loves the firey brilliance and dramatic dash of a Callas performance, even if her voice isn't that pleasant sometimes. This is a pair of thirty-minute black & white BBC TV programs from 1962 and 1964, the first a concert consisting of three arias, and the second a staging of Act II of Tosca with Tito Gobbi (who was also the finest Baron Scarpia ever). Just a taste, then, of someone who needed to be filmed for her legend to be fully appreciated. If only they had captured her Norma and Lucia of the mid-fifties--JE REGRET!"