Callas in Concert (Hamburg 1959 & 1962) Callas’s only operatic appearances in Germany were Lucia di Lammermoor, with Karajan conducting, in Berlin in 1955, and La sonnambula in Cologne in 1957, but in both 1959 and 1962 she made concert tours of the country, visiting Hamburg twice. The video recordings of her concerts in the city showcase her in a dazzling variety of Italian and French repertoire for both soprano and mezzo-soprano: three contrasting Verdi roles (Lady Macbeth, Elvira from Ernani and Elisabetta from Don Carlo); Imogene from Bellini’s Il pirata; Giulia from La vestale; Chimène from Massenet’s Le Cid; Verdi’s most explosively dramatic aria for mezzo-soprano – Eboli’s ‘On don fatale’ from Don Carlo; Carmen’s seductive Habanera and Seguédille and, from Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Angelina’s final rondo, which magically combines modest charm and sparkling virtuosity.
Callas at Covent Garden (London 1962 & 1964) Callas first appeared at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1952, as Norma. It became the scene for her last-ever operatic appearance: in June 1965, in a Zeffirelli production of Tosca that had been mounted for her the previous year. This Blu-ray disc includes Act 2 of that production, recorded in February 1964. Callas is joined by that Scarpia of Scarpias, Tito Gobbi, and, as Cavaradossi, the dynamic tenor Renato Cioni. The conductor is Carlo Felice Cilliario. This disc also contains extracts from a gala concert given two years earlier at Covent Garden. Callas performs Elisabetta’s magnificent Act V aria from Don Carlo (recalling a role she sang at La Scala in 1955) and the Habanera and Seguédille from Carmen, evoking one of the great might-have-beens of operatic history, since she never sang the entire role of Carmen on stage.