maria callas – mad scene from lucia di lammermoor (donizetti)

“The character of Lucia has become an icon in opera and beyond, an archetype of the constrained woman asserting herself in society. She reappears as a touchstone for such diverse later characters as Flaubert’s adulterous Madame Bovary and the repressed Englishwomen in the novels of E.M. Forster. The insanity that overtakes and destroys Lucia, depicted in opera’s most celebrated mad scene, has especially captured the public imagination. Donizetti’s handling of this fragile woman’s state of mind remains seductively beautiful, thoroughly compelling, and deeply disturbing. Madness as explored in this opera is not merely something that happens as a plot function: it is at once a personal tragedy, a political statement, and a healing ritual.” (Commentary from HERE)

Maria Callas performs “Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce”, the “Mad Scene” from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, recorded live in Florence in February 1953. Tullio Serafin conducted Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Tito Gobbi, Raffaele Arie, Valliano Natali, Maria Canali, Maggio Musical Fiorentino Orchestra & Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus.

The discussion in the comments underneath the video is quite entertaining, especially if read in light of the Anne Carson essay I posted earlier.

*This comment has received too many negative votes*
Even Callas said she would never sing this role ( and didnt ) after she heard Sutherland sing it. However, I do agree this is an astounding interprtation. Though Lucia still remains Sutherland’s crowning gem.

How is that so? Sutherland had the coloratura hands down but Lucia is not a canary coloratura bird role, instead it is a serious dramatic coloratura and assoluta role, meaning that the soprano who sings it most have a solid middle and low voice, things that Joan’s voice lack of as she always avoided singing the low notes and could never add some serious heroic weight to the middle voice. When Callas said she was not going to sing Lucia anymore was in the middle if her vocal decline.

LaBartoli Lover
Are you ignorant or just obtuse. Anyone that would call Sutherland a canary coloratura is either stupid or has never heard her. She has the weight of a Wagnerian soprano and the flexibility of a monster!!!
Sutherland had a very heroic color to the voice WITH heroic coloratura. I concede she had an underdeveloped bottom but considering the length of her career I forgive that slight fault. Although I have hear her sing decently supported low Gs. In short go the hell back to class!

She had a heroic coloratura yes, but that does not make a voice dramatic. Joan had a hollow, one dimensional middle voice and her lower register was non-existent – she admitted that herself. And sadly you need those notes too in order to do full justice to Lucia. Callas in the other hand had the low register of a contralto, and the middle voice of a real dramatic mezzo, so yes Callas could and did make complete justice to Lucia, and she has been the only one since recorded history.

Sutherland’s Lucia is sublime. But Callas’ is haunting. Here is a Lucia who knows that she has gone mad, who knows that she is broken and who knows that she committed murder. She lost her mind because her heart was broken, maybe even her body assaulted. The ‘Alfin son tua, alfin sei mio’ at 7:25 is full of horror. Callas makes that character come alive like no-one else, at least to me…

Tenor Bravo 
Maria? She was a REAL artist. Singing with her SOUL above all.
She really was a MEDIUM through whom this special force that rules EVERYTHING,
showed humanity the greatness of ART – MUSIC and human potentials.
***A Force of Nature! Magnificent! ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE! Absolutely pleasant!
A delight to my heart, soul, and ears!!!!!!!****

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