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Subject: Re: Books on Callas (ctd.)
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:49:21 -0500

text/plain (111 lines)

I grant you the last word on the allegations of plagiarism in SACRED
MONSTER because I have no inclination to compare its writing with that of
the other Callas volumes - water under the bridge, IMO.

I disagree however, about the extraordinary interest of the illustrations;
I know poor printing quality when I see it,  and considering the
variability of sources, I would say the reproduction ranges from acceptable
to excellent.
Plus - there are details in the listing of repertory, and in the casting of
performances, dating back to the soprano's earliest years in Greece, that I
have not seen elsewhere.  That doesn't mean it isn't available elsewhere,
but to have it all between the same covers suits me fine.


On Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 2:08 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Donald Kane wrote:
> "And what of  MARIA CALLAS. SACRED MONSTER, pub. 1998?
> The author, Stelio Galatopoulos, was wrongly accused of
> plagiarism on the grounds that "conversations" with Callas were
> lifted from other sources, but a careful reading shows that to
> be false.  In any case, it is a storehouse of unusual photographic
> and performance documentation.  For my purposes, this, and the Ardoin
> Discography are the essentials."
> Galatopoulos was not "wrongly accused" of plagiarism; he was caught in the
> act.
> I did not include "Sacred Monster" in my survey of Callas books because
> IMO it falls
> somewhere between "worth having" and "trash."  Yes, the book has some nice
> pictures,
> although many are not reproduced well.  But the text, most of which
> purports to be
> verbatim or near-verbatim accounts of private conversations between the
> author and Callas
> (he puts her alleged remarks in quotes), is completely unreliable.  Anyone
> familiar with
> interviews Callas gave over the years will recognize many places where
> Galatopoulos clearly
> lifted what Callas said in other contexts and slapped quotes on it as what
> Callas "told" him
> in private conversation.  (See, e.g., what Callas "told" Galatopoulos
> about what she learned
> from director Roberto Mordo, which is lifted almost verbatim from the
> interview Callas gave
> to Edward Downes in 1968.)  Similar examples can be found of statements
> lifted from
> Callas' famous filmed interview with Lord Harewood, also from an interview
> she gave in
> Chicago in 1958.  There are far too many of these examples to be a
> coincidence.
> There are other dead giveaways that Galatopoulos was simply making stuff
> up.  For
> example, he claims to have had a conversation with Tullio Serafin in which
> Serafin
> "explained" to him what he meant by his remark re his three "vocal
> miracles" (which did not
> include Callas).  (The exact quote is, "In my lifetime there have been
> three vocal miracles -
> Caruso, Ruffo and Ponselle.  Apart from these, there have been several
> other wonderful
> singers.")  BUT...Serafin died in 1968, and his "three vocal miracles"
> remarks were first
> published in Walter Legge's 1978 obituary of Callas in Opera News.  (Legge
> was using
> Serafin's remark, which was made to Legge privately, to put Callas' flawed
> singing in
> perspective.)  So just how did Galatopoulos come to talk with Serafin
> about comments that
> Galatopoulos could not have known about until after Serafin died?
> Clearly, the worshipful
> Galatopoulos could not bear for people to think that Callas' mentor
> Serafin did not put her
> at the top of his vocal pantheon, so he concocted an "explanation" for
> Serafin's remark
> which he then put in Serafin's own mouth to give it more weight.
> "Sacred Monster" is one of those obnoxious books on Callas in which the
> author is trying to
> build himself up as a repository of hitherto unknown information about
> Callas, by claiming
> to have had inside information from the Diva herself.  Given the many
> instances of
> mendacity throughout Galatopoulos' text, I don't believe a word he says,
> particularly as
> much of what he says is a slant on Callas (e.g., her feelings about
> Onassis) which is not
> supported by any other reputable book on her.
> So...not quite "trash," but not recommendable, either.  At least by me.

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