Callas and Tebaldi, 70 years ago the divine rivals at Arena of Verona
29 July 2017
Paolo Corsi (30 articles)
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Callas and Tebaldi, 70 years ago the divine rivals at Arena of Verona

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In the summer of 1947 Renata Tebaldi debuted in the Arena of Verona with Gounot’s Faust, and Maria Callas debuted with Ponchielli’s Gioconda. The rise of two great stars and a rivalry that is still thrills fans all over the world.

Exactly 70 years ago, in the summer of 1947, the audience of Verona saw the debut in the Arena of two young singers: the Italian Renata Tebaldi and the American with Greek origins Maria Callas. During that season Tebaldi was playing the role of Margherita in Gounot’s Faust, while Callas was Gioconda in Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera.

The critics praised Faust and its cast, including young Tebaldi, whom the audience had had the chance to appreciate the year before at the Scala di Milano in a concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini. As far as Gioconda, the attention was less for Callas that for her more famous colleagues.

However, it did not take long to Callas to catch the attention of opera fans, and the following years the two singers marched triumphally towards a worldwide success.

The two opera divas competed for most of the Fifties, although their legendary rivalry was more in their fans’ minds than real, as we can see in the famous photo where Callas is hugging Tebaldi to congratulate on her performance of Adriana Lecouvreur.

In their best years they were the symbols of the two greatest theatres in the world: Maria Callas was the star of the Scala di Milano and Renata Tebaldi of the Metropolitan Opera of New York. They left many recordings and some videos as a testament of their great talent, which also graced the stones of the Arena di Verona.

Paolo Corsi

Top photo: 1968-09-17, New York, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas

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Paolo Corsi

Paolo Corsi

Paolo Corsi è nato a Verona e vive in provincia di Trento. È attore, autore e critico teatrale. Da sempre appassionato d'opera, ha studiato canto e si è esibito come solista e in varie formazioni corali, partecipando come corista ad alcuni allestimenti di opere di Verdi, Rossini e Mozart. www.paolocorsi.it - posta@paolocorsi.it

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