Tosca has been well-served on CD, with excellent stereo versions by Renata Tebaldi and Leontyne Price, as well as the definitive monophonic Maria Callas interpretation on EMI. What lifts this new Tosca from the pack of also-rans is Angela Gheorghiu's intense portrait of the heroine. She sings with sweep and passion, convincing you of Tosca's varied emotional states, from love and jealousy to honor and desperation. Her stabbing scene is chilling; she spits out the repeated word "Mouri" (die) with terrifying power. Only in a slightly bumpy "Vissi d'arte" does she fall ever-so-slightly short, wanting the fullness of a true spinto voice to fill out Puccini's arching line… –Dan Davis
If any soprano is custom-built for the role of Floria Tosca, it is Maria Meneghini Callas. From her first entrance at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera last week, she made the Puccini heroine a creature of fierce temperament; hers was a believable embodiment of a jealous beauty who was willing to make the supreme sacrifice for her lover, and who carves up a would-be seducer with a fruit knife. In addition to her flawless acting, Callas was in full command of her remarkable voice—never luscious, but potent as TNT.
MARIA CALLAS is regarded as one of the greatest divas of all time, whose recordings are standards by which all subsequent performances are judged. The 10-CDs of Live Recordings capture her on some of the greatest nights of her career and contain an interview by American Opera commentator Edward Downes. This recital performance are an invaluable addition to Callas s recorded legacy and show yet another side of this unique diva, whose vocal achievements stand unrivalled today and probably for all time. The eye-catching clamshell box are a collectors delight.