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Subject: Re: Callas by Maria
From: Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 8 Dec 2018 14:25:43 -0500

text/plain (124 lines)


Have you seen it yet?  If not I guarantee you will be mesmerized...She did
indeed look like a movie star but with the assumed dignity ol a Sarah
Bernhardt or Elenora Duse...the "Callas" character she created was a thing
of beauty.  The Brooklyn fish wife on display in Dallas and Chicago was the
other side of the coin - equally fascinating and compelling.


On Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 8:48 PM LESLIE MITNICK <[log in to unmask]>

> 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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