Release Schedule

The Complete Callas Remastered Release Schedule

September 23:
Complete Box Set + Pure 1-CD Compilation

Bellini: I Puritani (1953)
Bellini: La Sonnambula (1957)
Bellini: Norma (1954)
Bizet: Carmen (1964)
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (1953)
Ponchielli: La Gioconda (1952)
Puccini: La bohème (1956)
Puccini: Tosca (1953)
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (1955)
Puccini: Manon Lescaut (1957)
Verdi: Aida (1955)
Verdi: Rigoletto (1955)
Verdi: Il Trovatore (1956)
Puccini Arias (1954)
Verdi Arias I (1958)
Mad Scenes (1958)
Lyric and coloratura arias (1954)
Callas at La Scala (1955)

October 21:
1 LP Vinyl Compilation

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (1954)
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana (1953)
Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (1957)
Rossini: Il Turco in Italia (1954)
Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (1956)
Verdi: La traviata (1953)
Mozart, Beethoven, Weber recital (1963–1964)
Rossini & Donizetti Arias (1963–1964)
Callas à Paris I (1961)
Verdi Arias II (1963–1964)

November 11:
Bellini: Norma (1960)
Cherubini: Medea (1957)
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (1959)
Ponchielli: La Gioconda (1959)
Puccini: Tosca (1965)
Verdi: La Forza del destino (1954)
The First Recital (1949)
The Callas Rarities (1953–1969)
Callas à Paris II (1963)
Verdi Arias III (1964–1969)

audiolab's picture

.....this is the beginning of many more such ventures. Hopefully for me Dame Joan Sutherland will be next to receive such treatment. It is a shame that Sutherland/Calas fans are always at odds with each other. I am quite happy to admit she is not my cup of tea at all, but happily acknowledge she maybe someone's cup of tea. The Decca Sutherland recordings are pretty good anyway, to have an honest remastering could prove revelatory. Here's hoping.

Rick Tomaszewicz's picture'll sell well in Europe. Here in the "new world" we're often suspicious of and dislike anything too sophisticated. We generally prefer common culture. Opera's hard to understand, an acquired taste, requires patience, is expensive and suggests you're trying hard to impress. Too bad. With enough label support, convenient formats and press coverage perhaps more people will give it a try. Those getting bored with pop music, who have enough intellectual curiosity to explore something outside their own tribe's tunes, may be surprised to find themselves emotional at the end of a great opera. Welcome to western culture's highest achievement. Mountains aren't supposed to be easy to climb.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

This is THE Callas DVD every opera lover must see:
Maria Callas At Covent Garden, 1962 & 1964
Filmed in a concert setting, the Act II Tosca with Gobbi and Cioni is one of the greatest live opera performances ever recorded.

Patrick Butler's picture

What a wonderful article. Thank you Jason.

Greg Mitchell's picture

I do wish writers would check their facts. The 1958 walk out was at the Rome Opera, not La Scala, the Rome Opera clearly at fault for not providing a stand-in, a fact clearly established in a later court case.
Her last performance in an opera was indeed Tosca at Covent Garden, but she completed the whole opera. She had been scheduled for three performances, but ill health caused her to cancel all but one, a royal gala in front of the Queen. Considering the parlous state of her voice at that last performance, the decision to cancel all but one was a decision well taken.
A few weeks earlier she had been forced to abandon after Act I a performance of Norma at the Paris Opera due to ill health.

volvic's picture

I concur a well written article, thank you Jason.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Some readers have undoubtedly noted that the new Callas 24/96 remasters have been available in Mastered for iTunes format for some time now. There have been many claims about "Mastered for iTunes," including that it often sounds better than the actual CD release. Here is mastering engineer Robert (Bob) Ludwig's take on Mastered for iTunes. Note his final comparison to 24/96 downloads. The first of the three batches of Callas 24/96 downloads becomes available on on September 23.

A well-done, auditioned and A-B'd Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) file CAN sound better than the 16bit CD some times, but here is the catch:

1. Apple has software (afclip) which measures both on-sample and inter-sample clips. The record companies request that masters we submit for MFiT have either zero clips, or the ones that are there have been auditioned and approved as inconsequential (inaudible). This is done by lowering the level into the encoder, typically -1dB. Apple is not the clip police, and there are MFiT examples I can show you that have a quarter-million clips in 3 minutes.

2. Apple asks that the engineer A-B the MFiT file with the 24bit master and determine the most accurate encoding level.

3. Even some top mastering engineers I speak to do not do this, they do not listen! They merely have their assistants submit a 24 bit file for Apple that has no clips on it.

4. While the top end usually sounds decent, the AAC and MP3 encoders window the bass frequencies in a way that even a few extra 1/10ths of a dB can dramatically increase the space and "air" around the kick and bass instruments. It is ironic that the bass is more of an issue than the top end.

5. I routinely have my engineers prepare a listening playlist on the workstations with the original 24 bit master and AAC encodes at -0.7dB, -1, -1.2 and -1.5dB and A-B EVERY album I master for iTunes. Assuming, for example, that the afclip shows no clips (digital "overs") when lowering the level into the encoder -0.5dB I often find that the bass frequencies and everything else sounds more accurate by further lowering the level -1.2 or even -1.5dB into the encoder, and that is what we send to Apple. It is like focusing a camera.

What I'm saying is, it is possible the 'average' MFiT file one compares to a CD may not sound as good, but if an MFiT encode file is carefully made, I think you will find, as my audience voted at two different AES presentations I made, the MFiT file sounds closer to the 24 bit source than the CD.

Google: 'Apple mastered for iTunes' and you will find the encoding applications Apple has made available to ANY-one and you can experiment and prove it for yourself.
I'm looking forward to Apple releasing 24bit iOS devices.

Of course, none of what I'm saying deals with 96kHz and above which improves the sound further by putting the all-too-audible low-pass filters up an octave. MFiT can be closer to the 44kHz 24 bit master that makes the encodes, but seldom to a 96kHz /24bit master.

Bob Ludwig
Gateway Mastering Studios, Inc.
Portland, ME

bernardperu's picture

Ludwig's thesis is unclear. He seems to say that mastered for Itunes can sound better than CD-lossless. But only if properly done. How about a CD that has been properly mastered? It has to sound better than the lossy mastered for itunes version, right?

prof's picture

He seems to say that mastered for Itunes can sound better than CD-lossless.

That does seem to be what he's saying.

How about a CD that has been properly mastered?

From the text, he's clearly talking about his own CDs which, I assume, he took similar care to master as "properly" as he could.

It has to sound better than the lossy mastered for itunes version, right?

What he seems to be saying is that the greater dynamic range of MFiT offers enough of an advantage over 16bit Redbook CDs that it outweighs whatever downsides there may be to AAC encoding.

Don't get hung up on "lossy" versus "lossless." Every digital encoding (and, for that matter, every analog recording) loses something. It's all in the tradeoffs ...