To celebrate the 100th birthday of Maria Callas, Warner Classics will release La Divina: Maria Callas in all her roles on 22 September 2023.
The massive 131-CD collection is the most comprehensive box of Callas recordings ever released, and shows her in all 74 roles for which audio documents exist.
The set comprises her complete studio recordings, an extensive collection of her best live recordings, the masterclasses she gave at The Juilliard School, videos, and a bonus CD of world premiere releases: alternate takes and working sessions from studio recordings of the 1960s.
In 2014, Warner's released 69 CDs of the remastered studio recordings, and in 2017 a 42 CD collection of remastered live recordings. Here there are 20 more CDs, but it is unfortunate for those who have already bought these two previous collections, as it is not possible to purchase these extra recordings separately. Hopefully, that will be a future option?
La Divina is being released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Callas' birth on 2 December 1923. A century after her birth, nearly 60 years after her last performance on stage, and more than 45 years after her death, Callas remains a defining figure in operatic history.
Maria Callas was born to a Greek family in New York; her vocal training took place in Athens with coloratura soprano Elvira de Hidalgo; and after her early performances in Greece, Callas's international career was launched in 1947 in the title role of Ponchielli's La Gioconda at the Arena di Verona.
The 1950s marked the height of Callas's career. Its base lay in the opera houses of Italy, and she became the prima donna assoluta at Milan's La Scala where most of her ‘studio' recordings were made. It was from this theatre that we have many recordings of her live performances that were transmitted by radio. Other operatic appearances featured in this collection come from London's Royal Opera House, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opéra, the Vienna State Opera, and the opera houses of Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Lisbon, and, in the early 1950s, Mexico City, São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
Her final stage performances came in 1965 when she was only 42. Callas died alone in her Paris apartment in September 1977.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.