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Subject: Re: Callas by Maria
From: LESLIE MITNICK <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:LESLIE MITNICK <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 7 Dec 2018 19:48:06 -0600
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You may well have a valid point.  It seems as though the "Rome Walkout" was the defining line and the turning point.  From that time on, Callas had become such a huge star and "celebrity" (in every sense of the word) that she was covered constantly in the newspapers and the tabloids.  The "smut rags" like Confidential Magazine had her on several covers and did cover stories about her, and after Onassis came into her life, she was receiving publicity that no previous opera star had ever garnered.  She was always good for a quote, and she attracted journalists and gossip-hounds like a magnet.  She became very hostile towards reporters and always looked like she had a "mad on".  Then, in the recording studio, a different Callas was photographed in front of the microphones.  As her public opera performances diminished, her celebrity increased to a point where she was bigger than life ---------- none of it to her good.
    I heard her say on an interview that "My biggest problem was that I became too famous for my own good."  She was photographed at film openings, the opera, circuses, concerts, on Onassis' luxury yacht (where she probably lived for a good while), and just about everywhere else, and usually photographed with Princess Grace, Prince Ranier, Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, and everyone else.  She looked like a movie star, traveled with the stars of films, theater and the musical stage.
    So she evolved into an "A Lister".
    A lot of good it did her.
    



> On December 7, 2018 at 5:38 PM Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> The documentary "Callas by Maria" finally hit the hinterlands of the
> Midwest.  It started today at one theatre in the Cleveland area and I was
> there for the first showing.  I will most likely go again and buy it when
> it comes out on DVD.
> 
> Unless you know the basics of the Callas life and career, this is not the
> best "first step."  For that I would suggest the Ardoin and then the Tony
> Palmer.  However, if you do know the "back story" this will be the one you
> keep coming back to.  It makes you feel like no other telling of the Callas
> story, her commitment to her art, the incredible pressure she felt to live
> up to the reputation her inherent genius created, and the toll such
> dedication took on her as a person.  After watching the film, my personal
> opinion is that the "Rome Walkout" was the beginning of the collapse of her
> ability to cope with the level of popular, professional, and artistic fame
> she had dedicated her life  (up to that point) to achieve.  She refers to
> it as a  low point until just about the very end of her life.
> 
> A few additional comments:
> 
> The film largely ignores her formative years.  There is no recounting of
> her early career defining anomalies like alternating Walkure with
> Puritani.  We jump almost immediately into the glory years at La Scala.
> The film maker, Tom Volf did a marvelous job of searching out and restoring
> old color footage of Callas in performance - productions I've admired in
> black and white photos in the Ardoin book suddenly jump to life in vivid
> reds, blues, and yellows.  How gorgeous she looked in that Trieste "Norma"
> and all the fire you would expect is there in those brief flashes of her in
> performance.  There are also stunning scenes from Vestale, Ballo, the '55
> Scala Norma, the Lisbon Traviata, the Paris Norma and the London Tosca  -
> all carefully curated by the director.
> 
> The narration is either in the Callas voice, or by Joyce di Donato reading
> the Callas letters.  Brava to di Donato for not trying to imitate any
> number of the speaking "voices" the real Callas used to express herself -
> from Grande Dame in the David Frost interview to the "Fulton Fish Market"
> shriek after Bing fired her from the MET.  Di Donato captures both surface
> and soul without distracting attention from the essence of La Divina.
> 
> If you haven't seen it...don't miss it!
> 
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