Tag Archives: Maria Callas

romantic arias for girls AND boys . . .

Want to listen to some romantic arias, sip some wine, and slip into a private little heaven?

In honor of Valentine’s day, I have two lovely arias for you:

First, for the ladies, Donna non vidi mai from Manon Lescaut, sung by the Argentine lyric tenor Marcelo Álvarez (whom I just heard in the Met’s radio broadcast of Tosca). Ladies, imagine you’ve just stepped out of a carriage, and Marcelo has fallen in love with you on sight and is singing this aria for your ears only.

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The last is piece is especially for the gentlemen, courtesy of @amzenon. Okay, for everyone. But gents,  if Maria Callas can’t melt your stony heart with her renditio of “Porgi amor” on the holiday devoted to romance, then you are a Scrooge. Stand by. Three cupids wielding arrows will be visiting shortly to help you claim your humanity, you heartless guttersnipe.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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And the moral of this post is: Opera makes any Valentine’s Day more special!


Filed under Performers, Video

Marion’s blogs celebrate her devotion to opera greats

Marion Lignana Rosenberg / c. Maeghan Donohue

Editor’s Note: Opera Bloggers’ Month continues with a Q&A with the always gracious and utterly captivating blogger, the intrepid Marion Lignana Rosenberg.

Many cyber-savvy opera lovers identify Marion Lignana Rosenberg  with the striking profile of Maria Callas via her Twitter profile @revisioncallas.

Marion Lignana Rosenberg is the esteemed host of the blog of the same name–“Re-visioning Callas”  which blends history, anecdotes, and insightful commentary–an homage to opera’s greatest diva Maria Callas using a multi-media platform.

However, Marion also authors the blog “Verdi Duecento,” which she created to recognize Giuseppe Verdi in anticipation of the bicentennial of his birth in 2013.

Marion  is an award-winning writer, blogger, and translator. At WHRB in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she produced what likely remains the most comprehensive broadcast ever of Verdi’s music, including many then-unpublished compositions.

Marion has published extensively on opera and the performing arts including  her essay “Re-visioning Callas,” which won a Newswomen’s Club of New York Front Page Award. She also wrote the entry on Maria Callas for Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century (Harvard University Press).

An acclaimed broadcaster and journalist, Marion has contributed features, reviews, and essays about the arts to Newsday, Time Out New York, Salon.com, Forward, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Magazine, Opera News, and Playbill. Besides her programs for WHRB,  she has offered commentary on WNYC’s “Soundcheck.”

Marion’s writing has appeared in the programs and season books of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and other companies in the United States and Europe.

So it is with great pride and distinct pleasure that I welcome Marion to Operatoonity.com.

Re-visioning Callas by Marion Lignana Rosenberg

"Re-visioning Callas" by Marion Lignana Rosenberg

O: When did you start blogging and why?

Marion: I started blogging back in 2002, first as a way to give vent to political rage, and then to get the word out about my freelance articles for Opera News, Time Out New York, and other publications.

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?

Marion: My biggest challenges are my tendencies to monomania and perfectionism. I curate blogs about Callas and Verdi and related Twitter feeds. In the past year, I have translated a non-fiction book (Carlo Rovelli’s The First Scientist: Anaximander and His Legacy) and a 150,000-word novel. I’m completing two book proposals. I’m always working on smaller translation projects (for example, English texts for Gianmaria Testa’s forthcoming CD, Vitamia). And I’m looking for a full-time position! I’m not complaining, but if I had my druthers, I would do one of these activities at a time with obsessive devotion. Instead, I breathe deeply, remind myself that “the best is the enemy of the good,” and carry on!

My biggest thrill is “meeting” so many deeply kind and intelligent people from all over the world. Thanks to my Callas blog alone, I correspond with lovely individuals in Greece, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Iran, Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere.

O: What is your favorite post and why?

Marion: From my Callas blog, I like Callas de cire, Callas de son because, well, who knew that the great Serge Gainsbourg had (unwittingly, I’m sure) shed light upon Maria Callas’s existential dilemmas?

From my Verdi blog, I’m proudest of Massimo Mila on Verdi I. While study of Verdi and his music has flourished in the past thirty years, there remains a great deal of enormously important work by Italian scholars and critics that is largely unknown in the English-speaking world.

* * *

You can follow Marion on Twitter @revisioncallas. Please do stop in on her exquisite blogs Re-visioning Callas and Verdi Duecento. You can learn more about Marion here.

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Filed under 20th Century Opera, 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, Classic Opera, Interviews, opera blogs, profiles

don’t quote me . . . the soprano hall of fame

An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I’ve left the opera house.
–Maria Callas

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a Callas remark: an Operatoonity microtale

March 6, 1853 Giuseppe Verdi: Premiere of La Traviata, in Venice, Italy.

Maria Callas as Violetta in ‘La Traviata

On the anniversary of the premiere of La Traviata, a microtale about the Verdi opera most frequently produced in North America seemed in order.

Callas recorded La Traviata early on in her singing career, well before her performance at La Scala in collaboration with Italian conductor Carlo Maria Giulini resulted in her designation as the Violetta of the age. She wanted the chance to redo the part as a stereo recording with a stellar cast during a time in which Plácido Domingo was just establishing himself a prominent tenor.

After Callas and Domingo were introduced, allegedly Callas said that she was losing interest in performing on stage because there were no satisfactory conductors, directors, or singers.

“Thank you, Maria,” Domingo said–laughing.

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Filed under 20th Century Opera, Classic Opera, Microtales, Opera and humor, Premieres

trivia and a treat for Tosca’s 111th anniversary

On this date, January 14, in 1900, Tosca premiered in Rome, Italy at the Teatro Costanzi. To mark the 111th anniversary of much admired opera, here’s a little Tosca trivia (and a Tosca treat). 
  • Tosca is considered to be Puccini’s  first foray into verismo, the realistic depiction of many facets of real life including violence.
  • Puccini wrote Tosca right in the middle of his career, with four operas preceding and five following.
  •  Tosca is unique in that all of the four main characters die violently.
  • For the “Te Deum,” Puccini exhaustively researched the liturgical practices at Rome .
  • The morning bells of Act 3 required a list of all the churches surrounding Castel Sant’Angelo and their bells, including the respective pitches.
  • 1928 marked the first and most notable Traviata-Tosca mashup in Milan. Apparently, the soprano singing Violetta drank too much champagne and made a mess of the first act of La Traviata. After a long intermission, the curtains opened on the second act . . . of Tosca! 

And now, the treat!  Here is  the complete second act of Franco Zeferelli’s (traditional)  Tosca filmed in 1962 at London’s Covent Garden with Maria Callas as Tosca and Tito Gobbi as Scarpia.


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Filed under 20th Century Opera, Classic Opera, Classical Composers, Premieres, Video