MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor
- Dramma tragico in tre atti [119:13]
Lucia - Maria Callas (soprano); Edgardo - Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor); Enrico – Rolando Panerai (baritone); Raimondo – Nicola Zaccaria (bass); Arturo – Giuseppe Zampieri (tenor); Alisa – Luisa Villa (mezzo); Normanno – Mario Carlin (tenor)
Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano & RIAS Symphony Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan
tec. live 29 September, 1955, Staatsoper, Berlin.
Bonus tracks:
Giacomo PUCCINI (1859-1924)
Manon Lescaut
In quelle trine morbide [2:56]
Sola, perduta, abbandonata [5:52]
La bohème
Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì [4:49]
Donde lieta uscì [3:20]
Suor Angelica
Senza mamma [5:53]
Gianni Schicchi
O mio babbino caro [2:34]
Maria Callas (soprano)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Tullio Serafin
rec. 15-21 September, 1954, London.
16 page booklet in English; no texts or translations
MINUET RECORDS 428412 [76:17 + 68:19]

This re-issue of a classic Callas recording is presumably the result of its having come out of copyright. The neatly presented, 16 page booklet provides track-listings, some nice photographs from the stage production, a new biographical appreciation by Arnold Jason and the original “Turnabout” LP liner notes, but no libretto or access to one and only a brief, partial plot summary, not even a synopsis. It has been effectively re-mastered but sounds to my ears virtually identical to the 1997 EMI issue, which has the advantage of a full libretto. I do not believe that Warner has yet re-mastered this is in their ongoing survey of Karajan’s recordings but this new Minuet issue represents good value as long as you can do without the text.

The sound was in fact always very acceptable for a live, mono 1955 stage recording, hardly any less listenable than Callas’ first 1953 studio recording under Serafin apart from the occasional cough. That has rightly long been highly regarded, not only for Callas’ compelling assumption of the eponymous role but also for the intensity of Gobbi’s Enrico and the vigour of Di Stefano’s singing, which although never entirely stylish or idiomatic is very affecting despite his tendency to shout, and is faithfully reproduced here two years later for Karajan. To be fair, he also sings softly and tenderly in his final big scene, so he is not all can belto. Panerai’s artistry is hardly a step down from Gobbi’s and he has better top notes, including a high G. Zampieri is a virile, effective Arturo. Furthermore, some prefer the extra energy Karajan generates in a live performance to Serafin’s steadier direction. Either way, both performances remain highly desirable, featuring all-Italian casts (with the exception of Greek bass Zaccaria, who was the adopted primo basso at la Scala and preferable to a rather woolly Raffaele Arié in 1953) and it is undeniable that by the time Callas came to make the second studio recording with Serafin in 1959 she was vocally in less secure form and less aptly partnered by an aging Tagliavini and a competent but bland Cappuccilli.

Of course every one of Callas’ recordings suffers from what we would now regard as disfiguring cuts; for the complete score we may turn to the excellent 1971 recording with Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes and Ghiaurov under Bonynge, but all her recordings are thrilling theatrical experiences. Callas’ exploitation of portamento is a marvel of liquid fluency, her top D’s are secure and the poignancy of her portrayal unparalleled. The famous sextet is terrific – and encored for good measure.

As a bonus, we are given six beautiful Puccini arias that Callas recorded the year before, which again demonstrate the unique power to move or her downward portamento and the plangency of her soft tones.
Ralph Moore



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount