2013. Maria Callas could have turned 90 this year. Her partner on stage, baritone Tito Gobbi, would have turned 100. medici.tv decided to celebrate this double birthday its own way, gathering on this web page three programmes featuring some of the most exceptional archive material Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi left behind them.
Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi had two very different destinies. They met on stage for the first time on December 1958 at the Palais Garnier in Paris, for a rendition of the second act of Tosca, in which La Callas sang the title role and Gobbi played the part of Scarpia. Both of them were incredibly prepared for this opera, since Callas was singing the title role since she was 19, and Gobbi sang it about 900 times in his whole career. In 1956, Tito Gobbi made his debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and met great success singing the role of the despotic baron. Fortunately, their performance in Paris was recorded and the archive is now available on medici.tv.
Tito Gobbi's talent as an actor was incredible. He was as well-at-ease playing the roles of characters like Falstaff as he was in the repertoire's greatest tragedies. Tito Gobbi never ceased to mention the way he prepared himself for a role. He needed to have a deep understanding of the character, his way of thinking, his feelings. This is probably what led him to the greatest stages around the world. medici.tv has just released archives of his performances in Rigoletto, Gianni Schicchi and Tosca, some of the operas he sang most in his career.
Maria Callas was definitely the prima donna assoluta's archetype. She invented it. The very first diva in history left behind her some important archives, such as this recording of two of her recitals in Paris.