Maria Callas: Birth of a diva

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Puccini,Verdi,Wagner etc
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: Legendary early recordings
WORKS: Excerpts from La traviata, La Gioconda, Tristan und Isolde, Norma and I Puritani
PERFORMER: Maria Callas (soprano); with Ines Marietti (soprano), Fedora Barbieri (mezzo-soprano), Fancesco Albanese, Mariano Caruso (tenor), Paolo Silveri (baritone); Coro Cetra; RAI SO, Torino/Gabriele Santini, Antonino Votto, Arturo Basile
CATALOGUE NO: 2564 69814-4 ADD mono


At the start of her career Callas made some recordings, of arias and of two operas, for the Italian firm Cetra, before spending the rest of her career with EMI.

Warner now issues, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of her death, selections, often tiny ones, from the two operas, and some early aria recordings.

The processes by which what were admittedly rather dim-sounding records have been ‘improved’ for this CD result in the most complete misrepresentation of a voice I have ever heard.

The dynamic range is enormously increased, so that loud notes become screams, soft ones mere murmurs; and an echo has been added which makes both the singer and the orchestra sound as if they are in a cathedral.


One wonders how this kind of thing ever gets past Quality Control, or one would if it didn’t happen so often. Absolutely to be avoided except by Callas-haters. Michael Tanner