Maria Callas in I Puritani

Another of the great Callas Mexico performances,a Puritani under Guido Picco from 1952. Although the sound is not the greatest, we can judge how phenomenal Callas was in those historic Mexico performances. The cast includes Giuseppe Di Stefano, Piero Campolonghi, and Roberto Silva. (72 min.)

Direct download: Callas_Purit..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

A Superb Mefistofele from 1965

   This wonderful work is performed by the Chicago Opera, 1965, under  Nino Sanzogno, and features Nicolai Ghiaurov,Renata Tebaldi, Alfredo Kraus, and Elena Suliotis.  (69 min.)

Direct download: Mef.Ghiaurov.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

Celebrating Astrid Varnay on her birthday

The great Astrid Varnay was born on April 25, 1918. Let us celebrate the memory of this legendary soprano with highlights from her illustrious career. All selections are from the 1950's and they include scenes from Parsifal, Tannhauser (Venus and Elizabeth),Tristan und Isolde, Flying Dutchman (with Hans Hotter),Elektra (w.Hoengen and Schoeffler, and concluding with the Gotterdmaerung Immolation Scene.  (68 min.)

She made her sensational debut at the Metropolitan Opera on 6 December 1941 in a broadcast performance singing Sieglinde in Wagner's Die Walküre, substituting for the indisposed Lotte Lehmann with almost no rehearsal. This was her first appearance in a leading role, and it was a triumph. Six days later she replaced the ailing Helen Traubel as Brünnhilde in the same opera. Varnay and Weigert became closer and were married in 1944. It was also at this time that she had lessons with former Metropolitan Opera tenor, Paul Althouse.

In 1948 she made her debut at Covent Garden and in 1951 in Florence as Lady Macbeth. In that year she also made her debut at Bayreuth after Flagstad, who had declined the invitation to Bayreuth, recommended that Wieland Wagner engage Varnay. She sang at Bayreuth for the next seventeen years, and appeared regularly at the Metropolitan until 1956.

She left when it was clear that the Met director Rudolf Bing did not appreciate her, and went on to become a mainstay of the world's other great opera houses, especially in Germany, in Wagner and Strauss but also several Verdi and other roles. She had already made Munich her home, where audiences considered her a goddess.

In 1969 she gave up her repertoire of heavy dramatic soprano roles and began a new career singing mezzo roles. After being the world's leading Elektra for over twenty years, she now established herself as a great interpreter of Klytemnestra. The role of Herodias in Salome became her most often-performed role: 236 performances. She returned to the Metropolitan in 1974 and last appeared there in Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in 1979.

In the mid-1980s, character roles now became Varnay's metier. Her last appearance on stage was in Munich in 1995, fifty-five years after her Metropolitan debut. In 1998 she published her autobiography Fifty-Five Years in Five Acts: My Life in Opera, written with Donald Arthur (German title is Hab'mir's gelobt).

In 2004, a documentary about her life and first New York career entitled Never Before, produced by Donald Collup, received acclaim in the USA. Her recordings of Strauss heroines such as Elektra and Salome along with the Wagnerian roles are among the treasures of the medium, while transcriptions of broadcast performances of her great roles document her art in sound, and a few video recordings of her late career preserve evidence of her acting ability. Astrid Varnay died in Munich on 4 September 2006, aged 88.

Selected recordings

Direct download: Varnay_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:12pm EDT

Some of the best!!

12 selections featuring live performances by some of opera's greatest singers.Included are:

Renata Tebaldi,Leonie Rysanek,Leontyne Price, Zinka Milanov, Eleanor Steber, Birgit Nilsson, Kiri Te Kanawa,Kirsten Flagstad, Hilde Gueden, Judith Blegen, Renata Scotto, Tatiana Troyanos, Placido Domingo, Jon Vickers, Luciano Pavarotti, Franco Corelli, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Lauritz Melchior  (70 min.)

Direct download: Met_125.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

Die Meistersinger from Vienna, 1955

Scenes from a wonderful 1955 Meistersinger under Fritz Reiner. The cast includes Paul Schoeffler, Irmgard Seefried, Gottlob Frick, Hans Beirer, and Erich Kunz.  (72 min.)

Direct download: Meist.1955.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

Walkure from Buenos Aires 1940, act Three

Act Three of the aforementioned Buenos Aires 1940 Walkure. (57 min.)

Direct download: Walk.B.A.-2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

Die Walkure from Buenos Aires, Part One.

Highlights from acts and ond two from a historical 1940 Buenos Aires Walkure under Erich Kleiber. The cast includes Marjorie Lawrence, Irene Jessner, Rene Maison, Herbert Janssen, Emanuel List, and,in a rare early performance of Fricka near the start of her illustrious career, Rise Stevens as Fricka. ( 71 min. )

Direct download: Walk.B.A.-1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

Giulietta in Favorita

EXCITING STUFF!   Naples, 1963 Favorita under Fernando Previtali, with Giulietta Simionato, Gianni Raimondi, Mario Zanasi, and Nicola Zaccaria.  (71 min.)

Direct download: Fav.Simionato.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:21pm EDT

In Memory of Leonard Warren

Leonard Warren was born on April 21, 1911. He was a sensational singer, up to the moment,on March 4, 1960 that he died on stage before our eyes. I present this 1945 Rigoletto in his memory.

  The cast also includes Jussi Bjoerling, Bidu Sayao, and William Hargrave, conducted by Cesare Sodero.  (71 min.)

Direct download: Warren_1945_Rig..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:44pm EDT

The Opera Debut of the Great Astrid Varnay

 A fascinating event, as the great soprano Astrid Varnay makes her Met debut as Sieglinde,replacing Lotte Lehmann, on the Dec.6 Walkure broadcast...her Met debut, (with no rehearsals) AND the first time she EVER sang on ANY stage. This must go down in opera history as one of the great events.

   In the cast are Lauritz Melchior,Helen Traubel,Friedrich Schorr, and Alexander Kipnis, under Erich Leinsdorf. (68 min.)

  I must also make mention of  Donald Collup,former singer and pianist, who interviewed Mme.Varnay in her later years, and produced a magnificent  documentary of her  fabulous career. Mr.Collup's fascinating home page can be found at: I must also mention that his remarkable collection can be found at his store at:

Direct download: Varnay_Debut.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04pm EDT

More Great Music

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