"Along with John Ardoin's The Callas Legacy, this is the essential work about the most remarkable and disturbing singer to emerge after World War II." Opera News
- Northeastern University Press
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
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It seems inappropriate to call Michael Scott's brilliant book MARIA MENEGHINI CALLAS a "music biography," because it transcends genre boundaries. The book is certainly a comprehensive academic document, but it is also a window into Mr. Scott's world of record-collecting geekery, his private musings -- an extended essay on Callas's recorded legacy with biographical insight. In fact, Scott's motivation is clearly personal: to dispel what he calls "abstruse" interpretations and, more specifically, the glamour-mongering and hero worship of a profoundly flawed person (I call it the Anti-"Callas Queen" Manifesto). He argues his points most persuasively, which is as inspiring as it is infuriating. A rigid scholar and musician, Scott writes with straightforward, unemotional style (e.g. the haughty royal "We") that is miles from dreary, I assure you. Delightfully catty and occasionally poetic, he includes a particularly beautiful account of his experience as an audience member at Callas's Covent Garden TRAVIATA, as well as several highly quotable passages on recordings of MACBETH (1952) and SONNAMBULA (1955) at La Scala. Obsessed with self-discipline, taste, and decorum, Scott is wonderfully adept at conveying his abundant love for Callas as a musician. And what else is there, folks? I urge all Callas admirers to rise to the challenge of this stirring, essential book. Simply put, Mr. Scott changed the way I listen to music. I've attached a small sampling (below), all highlighted most enjoyably in the book, including the Lyric Coloratura recital (if only for "Una Voce Poco Fa") and abovementioned mid-'50s bootlegs. Highly recommended. Also: THE GREAT CARUSO and his contributions to THE RECORD OF SINGING. Happy reading (and listening!).