ALL ARTS Performance Selects


Classic Archive: Maria Callas

One of the most famous and beloved opera divas of the 20th century, Maria Callas was known for her bel canto technique and passionate interpretations. The Greek American singer's personal life often overshadowed her artistic achievements, but she remains one of the best-selling classical singers today.

AIRED: March 12, 2019 | 0:54:26

Hi, I'm Julia Bullock.

Walk with me into the world of "La Divina,"

the divine Maria Callas --

one of the most admired and influential voices

to ever grace the opera stage,

and now on your screen, only on "All Arts."

She was coined as La Divina, the Divine Soprano,

but that term seems actually a little bit limiting

because I feel that Callas actually was

trying to encapsulate and present

all of the aspects of the human experience

through the transcriptions of these composers.

You can actually see in her eyes, you can see in her hands,

it's almost like every single thing that she's thinking

is legible.

And even though she's singing roles of goddesses,

singing roles of the most desired women in the world,

it's a very clear and direct delivery of the music

and also of the text.

One of my favorite moments, actually, in these clips

is when she's singing "Casta Diva,"

and the choir behind her is actually not doing brilliantly.

[ Laughs ]

And instead of, like,

trying to pretend like it's all going really well,

she just slightly looks to her side

and quiets them -- [ Laughs ] --

as she's singing again.

I guess I just really value her honesty.

Every single clip, you can see her unleashing

and actually almost seemingly losing herself.

I never, as a performer, want to lose perspective on stage.

But there is a moment where you have to kind of decide

"Am I going to play this very safely,

or can I let myself go into this with full abandon

and actually let people observe everything that I'm feeling,

everything that I'm thinking."

And she demanded that of herself at all times.

Whether you're a professional

or somebody who's coming to this material for the first time,

what you are experiencing and what you are seeing

is a tremendously committed performer.


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