100 Years of Callas

The Archivio recounts Medea for the 100th anniversary of Maria Callas’ birth

On Saturday 2nd December, Maria Callas would have turned 100 years old. To celebrate the greatest opera voice in history, the Archivio Storico Ricordi is participating in a series of meetings, exhibitions and thematic initiatives.

On Monday, 4th December at the Museo Teatrale alla Scala in Milan, in the Sala Esedra (6.00 p.m. entrance with reservation from 5.45 p.m.), the director of the Archivio Pierluigi Ledda explains the recording adventure that led to the creation of the album Medea with the curator of the “Dischi e tasti” review Luca Ciammarughi and Andrea Castello, president of the Historical Archive Tullio Serafin, the great conductor who interpreted the recording.

More info: Museo Scala

The Archivio Storico Ricordi has reissued on vinyl the legendary album Medea by Luigi Cherubini, recorded at the Teatro alla Scala in 1957 and released the following year, with Maria Callas in the title role and Tullio Serafin conducting. Among the performers were Renata Scotto, Miriam Perazzini, Mirto Picchi and Giuseppe Modesti. Thanks to the cultural heritage preserved in the Archivio, tracing contracts, letters, company letters and other testimonies of the time, it was possible to reconstruct the genesis of the record. Its vinyl reissue in a box set full of exclusive contributions and images, in a limited edition of 500 copies, is the result of a collaboration between the Archivio, Bertelsmann and Sonopress. The project was realised on the occasion of the Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Tullio Serafin’s death 1968-2018 instituted by the Tullio Serafin Historical Archive.


The Archive also collaborates with the University of Turin, as part of the “Icona Callas” programme promoted by UniVerso, a multidisciplinary programme designed to offer a multi-faceted portrait of Maria Callas through several languages and forms of expression: exhibitions, concerts, screenings, masterclasses, an installation by Marina Abramovic and an international study conference for the centenary of the Divina’s birth.

On Monday 11th December, at the Aula Magna of the Cavallerizza Reale, Pierluigi Ledda will lead a masterclass to retrace the genesis of the “Medea” record, a legendary recording not only for the quality of the artists and professionals involved in its production, but also because it sanctioned Casa Ricordi’s entry into the world of record-making with the Dischi Ricordi label, which a few years later would lead to the birth of the great phenomenon of Italian singer-songwriters. The record will also be the subject of the exhibition “Callas/Medea. Storia di un disco”, curated by Pierluigi Ledda and Giulia Carluccio, which will open on Sunday 17th at the Sala Athenaeum, Palazzo del Rettorato (via Verdi 8). The Archivio has contributed original materials that recount the genesis of the record project, including the original box set, its preparatory drafts, the 7-inch, and photographs of the auditions, recording and launch.



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