It's pretty simple-this boxed set contains EVERYTHING La Divina recorded in the studio, including newly-licensed and newly-remastered material! That's the first 69 CDs; the 70th CD is a CD-ROM containing the tracklists and photos. And the set comes inside a hardcover slipcase containing a color booklet packed with even more photos of this most photogenic of opera singers. As for the contents, well, again, it's EVERYTHING she did in the studio.
This is a most unusual 'Parsifal,' a live Rome performance, abridged and sung in Italian, originally broadcast in September of 1950. As dark a horse as it may appear to be, several factors make it compelling listening. One is the leadership of Vittorio Gui, an excellent opera conductor now best remembered for several fine Mozart recordings he made for EMI. While the music does seem to have a somewhat Latinate thrust, it works on its own terms, reminding one that despite the aura of spirituality and philosophy that hangs over the proceedings, this is still drama. Then there is the matter of the singers, with the great Russian bass Boris Christoff, firm and profound as Gurnemanz and soprano Maria Callas, here in her early prime, strong, sharp Read more and electrifying, as Kundry, each adding their spectacular (though not typically "Wagnerian") gifts to the mix. It's quite a stew.
Born in New York City and raised by an overbearing mother, she received her musical education in Greece and established her career in Italy. Forced to deal with the exigencies of wartime poverty and with myopia that left her nearly blind onstage....
Drawn in all but one instance from material issued previously on DVD by EMI, this video tribute to Maria Callas, marking the 30th anniversary of her death in September 1977, does its job for the most part strikingly well. In fact, there’s one item—a film of Callas singing “Casta diva” from an RAI-Rome New Year’s Eve telecast at 9 p.m. on December 31, 1957—that may in itself warrant your purchase of this DVD. Missing from the chronology of filmed performances in the final edition of John Ardoin’s The Callas Legacy (4th edition; Amadeus Press, 1995), and missing also from some of the “complete” performance chronologies elsewhere in the Callas literature, it appears here, “for the first time on DVD,” as a “special bonus feature”. This is a historic document.