»La Callas« in Hamburg

A gem from the NDR archive: the legendary soprano Maria Callas singing Rossini and Verdi

18 suitcases, 6 rooms in the Atlantic Hotel, 2 poodles and a personal chef: there is great excitement when »La Divina« arrives for her first Hamburg concert in May 1959. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra has dug up some of its most legendary concert recordings from the archives. One of those is the recording of the extraordinary concert by Maria Callas, surely the twentieth century’s greatest opera diva.

In a celebrated gala concert in the Laeiszhalle, she sang arias by Rossini, Bellini and Verdi. At the end of the impressive event, which had been sold out weeks in advance, there’s just no stopping the audience: the »primadonna assoluta« almost disappears behind the standing ovations, deafening applause and four enormous bouquets of flowers.

Maria Callas writing an entry in the guest book

Maria Callas Maria Callas © NDR
Gästebucheintrag Maria Callas Gästebucheintrag Maria Callas © NDR

Performers :For the concert on 15 May 1959

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
Maria Meneghini-Callas soprano
conductor Nicola Rescigno


Gaspare Spontini
Tu che invoco con orrore / from the opera »La vestale«

Giuseppe Verdi
Ambizioso spirto tu sei / from the opera »Macbeth«

Gioachino Rossini
Overture to the opera »L'italiana in Algeri«
Una voce poco fa / from the opera »Il barbiere di Siviglia«

Giuseppe Verdi
Tu che le vanità / from the opera »Don Carlo«
Overture to the opera »I vespri siciliani«​

Vincenzo Bellini
Oh! s'io potessi - Col sorriso d’innocenza / from the opera »Il pirata«

More stories

Ensemble Resonanz: Concertos und Caprices

An Italian programme in the Recital Hall: a concert stream with Riccardo Minasi and violin virtuoso Ilya Gringolts. Available from 26 February 2021, 19:30.

Departure for Planet Globokar

Adventurous experiments in the musical laboratory: a journey of discovery for children aged 6 and over. Available from 27 February 2021, 11.

Play Video

: Deichkind: Sounds of Elbphilharmonie

For Fynn Kliemann’s online series »Sounds Of«, the Hamburg band has knocked up a new song – featuring sounds from the Elbphilharmonie.