OP3050. LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Live Performance, 8 Dec., 1956, Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Maria Callas, Giuseppe Campora, Enzo Sordello, Nicola Moscona, etc.; Maria Callas, w.Basile Cond. RAI Torino Orch.: Norma - Casta Diva, 8 Nov., 1949, Torino; w.Sargent Cond. Royal Phil.: Arias from La Boheme & Mefistofele, 3 Oct., 1959, London. (Italy) 2-Melodram CDM 26034. Very long out-of-print, final copy!
"Callas was at the height of her career when this broadcast took place, and there is much to savor....Even at less than her vocal best, Callas was a singular and amazing Lucia, one who, perhaps like no other, masterfully portrayed a three-dimensional, fragile young woman who is a single horrible turn of events away from madness. While listening to this broadcast I frequently thought of an analogy to performances by tenor Carlo Bergonzi during the latter stage of his career. Yes, the high notes were a challenge for Bergonzi during that period, but every other aspect of his vocalism was a masterclass in the art of Italian tenor singing. And that is very much how I feel about Callas’ Met broadcast Lucia. In every measure of the score, Callas understands how to declaim the text, and to shape the color of the words and music to embody Lucia’s plight. It is the essence of bel canto; beautiful and refined singing, always at the service of the drama. Callas’ colleagues on this occasion - Giuseppe Campora as Edgardo, Enzo Sordello as Enrico, and Nicola Moscona as Raimondo - are in good voice, and do not let the[ir] side down. Fausto Cleva leads an incisive performance, and one clearly in sync with Callas when she is on stage....This is in fact Callas’ only Met broadcast. This might not be the finest Callas Lucia, and she cuts several high E-flats, including two in the ‘Mad Scene’, but it has massive historical value. The conductor Fausto Cleva sounds very much on home turf in the opening Prelude, and marshals the opening chorus well (the Met Chorus was in lusty voice). Cleva delineates the varied surface extremely well; the carefree opening to Act II, scene 2 being a case in point. He also steers the famous Act II sextet beautifully. The sound reproduces the orchestra well, notably perhaps the harp in Act I, scene 2 and the horns at the opening of the Second Act. Voices, too, have a lovely bright gleam, something perhaps heard at its best in Callas’ upper registers.
Callas and Votipka are a brilliantly coupled pairing, Votipka preparing the way superbly for Callas’ aria ‘Regnava nel silenzio’, itself brilliantly dispatched. Perhaps the end of Callas’ scene, prior to the arrival of Edgardo, holds a not quite resplendent crowning close, but the interpretation remains compelling; one could easily argue the human element raises it above any studio assumption. The ‘Mad Scene’ (Act III, scene 1, ‘Il dolce suono’) begins with Callas projecting a fragile, tragic demeanor; as the scene unravels (if you’ll pardon the expression) Callas’ vocal fireworks become an integral part of her dramatic vocabulary. Not allowing ourselves to get fully dragged into her torment…one can appreciate Callas’ magnificently considered phrasing; and the famous passage with flute is exquisite.
The role of Edgardo is taken by Giuseppe Campora, who is meltingly eloquent, strong of voice and impeccably clear of diction. The parting duet of Callas and Campora at the end of Act II, scene 1 is particularly well matched, and the phrasing of the two of them in octaves, shadowed by silken strings, is a thing of joy. The last section of the Opera (Act III, scene 2) falls mainly to Edgardo, of course, and from his suavely phrased first entry (‘Tombe degli avi miei’) it is clear this is the best of him. The strength of his voice is very clear, and the phrasing of ‘Tu che a Dio’ accompanied by subtly shuffling strings, is the perfect way to close the opera....”
- Ken Meltzer, FANFARE, March/April, 2017
"Born in Tortona, Italy, on 30 September 1923, tenor Giuseppe Campora made his professional operatic début when stepping in on short notice for Galiano Masini in 1949 at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari as Rodolfo in Puccini's LA BOHEME. Shortly after, in 1951, he was wanted by Toscanini for La Scala in a performance of Cilea's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, opposite star soprano Renata Tebaldi. The performance set the pace for his rapidly ascending international reputation, marked by his efforts in the filmatization of AïDA in 1951 with Sophia Loren in the title rôle, where Campora sang the tenor voice and Renata Tebaldi the soprano parts.
The following year he visited the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro as well as taking part in the La Scala premiere of Lodovico Roccas L'URAGANO in 1952 and the 1954 première at the Teatro San Carlo of Napoli in I PESCATORI by Jacopo Napoli. He débuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in LA BOHEME, where he came to be one of Rudolf Bing's favourite tenors, and enjoyed popularity with the house during the '50s. He was the featured tenor for Maria Callas' Met début in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR."
- Ned Ludd
“Enzo Sordello born in Pievebovigliana, he went on to study at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Turin and privately with Carlo Tagliabue. In 1952, he won the International Competition organized by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and began appearing there in small roles. He first won recognition when he sang the role of Cinno in Spontini's LA VESTALE, opposite Maria Callas, in a production by Luchino Visconti. This led to his Metropolitan Opera début in 1956, as Marcello in LA BOHÈME, followed by Malatesta in DON PASQUALE. He also sang Enrico in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, opposite Maria Callas who had him fired after the performance for holding a note longer than hers.
He went on singing at most of the major opera houses of the world, notably, the Vienna State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Teatro Colón, as well as at the Glyndebourne Festival and Bregenz Festival. His sang in a wide variety of roles of the Italian and French repertoire, from baroque to contemporary works, but with a particular predilection for Figaro in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA and the title-role in RIGOLETTO.
In 1961, he sang Fillipo in BEATRICE DI TENDA in a concert version by the American Opera Society in New York City, opposite Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne.
Sordello retired from the stage in 1982. He lived in Roccavione where he died on 15 April, 2008.”