Robert Ponsonby and Maria Callas in Edinburgh | Letter

Arthur Summerfield hoped to catch Maria Callas at the Edinburgh festival in 1957, but she was catching a plane home

Despite the efforts of Robert Ponsonby as director of the Edinburgh festival (Obituary, 24 February), Maria Callas did not sing in La Sonnambula there on the night that I went to see it in 1957. As I arrived clutching my ticket for what had been advertised as her fifth and final performance at the festival, I found out that Callas was catching the next plane home.

She was replaced by Renata Scotto, whose career was thus much enhanced. Nor did I see her co-lead, Giuseppe Di Stefano, who pleaded a bad throat and was replaced by Nicolai Gedda.

Fortunately, both Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Victoria de los Ángeles were in good health and voice, and I was able to attend both recitals. Quite a week, and thank you, Robert Ponsonby.
Arthur Summerfield
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

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