Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, La Traviata

Adam Sweeting

By Adam Sweeting

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the greatest partnerships in operatic history.

The partnership of Giuseppe di Stefano and soprano Maria Callas was one of the great box-office draws in operatic history. In this historically valuable live recording of La Traviata from Mexico City in 1952, the audio quality may not match the pristine standards we expect from contemporary recording equipment, but the two headliners are at the top of their game in an opera which became one of their best-loved showpieces. Traviata is peppered with some of the best-known tunes in opera, like the drinking song "Libiamo" or Violetta's "Amami, Alfredo," though for sheer poignancy it's tough to beat "Parigi, o cara" — the last big tune of the piece, it finds Alfredo at the bedside of the dying Violetta, where the ill-fated lovers indulge in some wishful daydreaming of a bright future and Violetta's recovery. But we know it is not to be.