Saturday, 11 October 2008

175. Luigi Cherubini - Médée (1797)


Title: Medea
Performers: Maria Callas, Ginno Penno
Director: Leonard Bernstein
Year: 1953
Length: 2 hours


I detest Maria Callas' singing style. It is ugly, strident and almost to the level of caricature. And then not to solve any problems I get the shittiest recording quality of all times here, it's recorded off the radio in 1953!

The choir gets too distorted for comfort, Callas gets even more strident to the point of distortion, you hear people shuffling about, coughing, you even hear what seems to be a prompter in the second or third act... I don't remember.

What is most frustrating about it is the fact that is actually seems to be an interesting opera, even if Leonard Bernstein seems to be conducting it in a way completely irrespective of history. Either that or Cherubini has just invented verismo and no one told me.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The role of Médée is famed for its difficulty. Famous interpreters of the role in the 20th century included Maria Callas, Eileen Farrell, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Magda Olivero, Leyla Gencer, Leonie Rysanek, Anja Silja, Maralin Niska, Marisa Galvany, Montserrat Caballé, Sylvia Sass, Shirley Verrett and, in the restored original-version, Phyllis Treigle.

Here you go, notice all the back noise and how strident she sounds:


j8j88 said...

LOL I think you are too harsh. She's the greatest Medea of all time. Nowhere is her singing more beautiful than in one of her greatest roles:

among others she was a stupendous Norma, Traviata, Lucia and Butterfly...

What a range!

Chad said...

I'm no fan of Callas either, typically avoiding her recordings assiduously, but you should really try her recording of Tosca. It really is one of the greatest recordings of all time and the only bad thing I can say about it is that it's in mono.