Puccini: Tosca - Callas, Di Stefano, Campologhi; Picco. Mexico City, 1952
Listen to a Sample:
Tosca is usually a three-singer-opera, but in this performance from Mexico City it is decidedly a duo affair. Piero Campolonghi's Scarpia is perfectly respectable, but he isn't much of a match for Maria Callas' legendary performance in the title role, and Giuseppe Di Stefano at the height of his powers as her lover. The latter proves so popular with the Mexico City audience that he is asked to sing "E Lucevan le stelle" twice, lavishing each phrase with yearning and powerful anguish. Callas is in fine form, her high notes as secure as they ever were, and with power enough for seven Toscas. Each phrase is laden with attention to detail (notice the way she slowly melts in the act one love duet) and the end of the opera is gut-wrenching. The sound is poor (and the prompter is a fairly constant presence) but even if the capture were twice as bad, this would still be a performance for the ages.