Maria Callas, master class at Juilliard
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
“Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” - Rigoletto (baritone)
Student: Sung Kil Kim
Maria Callas sings the triumphal march from Verdi’s Aida, from Mexico, 1950 and 1951.
Maria Callas sings the cabaletta from Il Pirata (Finale)
Qual suono ferale - Oh, sole! ti vela di tenebre oscure
The assoluta Maria Callas singing the disturbing ‘Il Dolce Suono’ from the mad scene of Donizetti’s infamous Lucia Di Lammermoor.
The more I listen to Callas in the pre-1954 recordings of this role, I’m inclined to say it even surpasses the great Joan Sutherland’s Lucia in performance and artistry. The size and facility of Callas’s voice pre 1954 was staggering. The middle was ample and resonant, like a Wagnerian Soprano in stature, but with the intricacies and beauty of a true Bel Canto Soprano. The legato is fluid and secure, and she is able to merge dramatic and lyric tones together seamlessly. She also triggers the suspense and horror so well, emphasising the music with her powerful chest voice and highlighting the total madness of Lucia, in all its startling facets.
If anything, Lucia requires a masterclass in vocal characterization, rather than simply high notes and tin-pot coloratura. It’s a role that requires a high level of musicianship and a voice that is truly multi-coloured and versatile. Callas had this in spades.
by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Orchestra of the Palacio de las Bellas Arte
Umberto Mugnai, conductor
Mexico City 03.VI.1952