the rivality Callas Cerquetti
there was Tosca! Cerquetti, in the Rasponi book, writes a pathetic description
of Tebaldi's "Violetta" in Florence, at the same time she
was appearing there, and wonders aloud why she would have put herself
through that torture, being *unsuited* for the role as she was. (paraphrased
but very close)
But, that's not really the point of what's been said concerning Callas
and Cerquetti, so let's put the record straight, and you can all decide
for yourselves. It'll be long!
Callas was fired from Rome after the "Norma" walkout on 2
Jan 58, and never sang there again. She was *fired* by Ghiringelli at
Scala in May of 58 and didn't reappear until 7 Dec 1960, four months
after Cerquetti officially retired. Callas had not sung at Naples since
56, nor at Genoa, Venice or Verona since 54. Nevertheless, Cerquetti
has only one engagement at Naples, in 57-8, one at Venice in 56, and
never sang at either Genoa or Turin. Nor, did she sing at Verona after
57, nor at her most famous venue, Florence, after the same year. Callas
was not heard at Florence after 1953. So, it is just ludicrous to even
intimate that she or her admirers had ANYTHING to do with Cerquetti
not being engaged in any of those places.
Cerquetti talks about Maria vaccilating over a "Ballo" production
at Scala. No year given. Callas sang it in only production in her life,
7 Dec 1957, opening night. Cerquetti states that it was offered to her
after Maria turned it down, and that Maria changed her mind after hearing
that she (Cerquetti) was to sing it. Does anyone really believe that?
Further, Cerquetti sang her last performance at Chicago on 30 Nov. Think
about an opening night, a new production, what would have been her debut
at Scala, with seven days to get to Italy, rest, rehearse and go on
stage. It never happened! But then, we've heard other interesting tales
about Callas and "Ballo" productions.
After the Rome walkout, Callas never again sang in a theater in Italy
except at Scala in one revival of "Poliuto" and two short
runs of "Medea". Given the fact that she disappeared from
Italian musical life for a two and a half year period, and that Cerquetti
was either not invited, or, chose not to appear at any of Italy's major
theaters after "Nabucco" at Scala in June 58, which was, by
the way, her debut and farewell as an opera singer at that theater,
something else was going on, and we will probably never know what it
Why do I bother, and who cares? Well, I bother because Maria Callas
has enough real baggage to carry around in death, that neither we nor
her memory need more of the same. There is enough truth in what we already
know, to paint a picture that is sometimes not very pretty. Who cares?
I have no idea; I hope a few of you do.