Maria Callas Remembered Through the Eyes of Joseph Rescigno

Nov 16, 2023 558

Italian-American conductor Nicola Rescigno played a significant role in developing both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Dallas Opera, which he co-founded with Carol Fox and Lawrence V. Kelly, in 1952 and 1957 respectively. It was Rescigno who brought Callas to America for her 1954 debut, and became one of Maria Callas’s favourite conductors, alongside Tullio Serafin and Georges Prêtre.

The two met in Italy the summer before his first season in Chicago, where he heard Callas and immediately offered the titular role in the LOC’s upcoming performance of Bellini’s Norma, which would be her American debut. The two went on to collaborate on numerous performances, including her 1959 concert performance of Il pirate, at Carnegie Hall, and several albums of popular opera arias, recorded for EMI; and tours in North America and Europe.

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