Gluck: Alceste - Callas, Gavarini, Panerai, Zampieri, Zaccaria; Giulini. Milano, 1954


Listen to a Sample:



  • Not to begrudge our current era of period performance, but hearing a work by Gluck given the grand treatment that it gets from the forces at La Scala makes me wonder if the composer himself would have prefered the instruments of his day to the formidable chorus, orchestra and soloists assembled here. The result is a monumental scale that you cannot get from a reduced string section and a chorus singing in straight-tone.
  • And speaking of monumental, Maria Callas is larger than life in the title role, delivering her brand of searing intensity even during the most delicate moments of the opera.
  • The rest of the cast is excellent, particularly Renato Gavarini as Admeto. Gavarini, a name unknown to me until now, matches Callas in intensity all while demonstrating a technique capable of Classical-era grace.


  • During loud passages there is some mild distortion.

Maria Callas sings "Tu che invoco con orrore" from La Vestale
Milano, 1954

In Mono

OD 12009-2