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Maria Meneghini Callas

Maria Meneghini Callas

5.0 1
by Michael Scott

"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


"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

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a biography for serious Callas (1923-1977) students, Scott ( The Great Caruso ) traces the career of the controversial diva from her teenage appearances as a budding prima donna through the triumphs of the early 1950s to later years when Callas's voice was increasingly frail. Pointing out the ``contradiction between the depth of Callas's extraordinary musicianship and the narrowness of her intellect,'' Scott plays down the sensational aspects of his subject's personal life and concentrates on her artistic genius. He analyzes her major performances and recordings, defining the prodigious talent and technique that, at the height of her vocal powers, she put to brilliant use in reviving the nearly forgotten early-19th-century bel canto opera repertoire. Scott's description of the rapid deterioration of her voice from the mid-'50s to her death adds a contrasting poignancy to the chronicle. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
One can scarcely imagine a more detailed scrutiny of the great soprano's career than that in the present volume, written by the founder of the London Opera Society. Virtually every performance is chronicled, along with the attendant backstage gossip and intrigue. Although she died in 1977, Callas's greatest years as an opera singer are shown to coincide with her marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini, which lasted from 1948 until she left him for Aristotle Onassis in 1959. At that point, almost in Dorian Gray fashion, she became a jet-set celebrity whose glamor grew as her voice faded. The author, artistic director of the London Opera Society and author of several books on opera (e.g., The Great Caruso , LJ 9/15/88), includes authoritative discussions of Callas's recordings and firsthand accounts of many performances. Although general readers are likely to be put off by the shop talk, this is indispensable reading for opera buffs. For serious music collections.-- E. Gaub, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Chronicles the triumphs and tragedies, but also the foibles and genius of this great diva. For the opera aficionado only, every performance and every recording are listed, and, where possible, reviews are cited. This is an exhaustive treatise by an author who is well-known and highly-regarded in operatic circles. A monumental research project and valuable reference work for music collections. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A study of Callas (1923-77) not to be missed. Scott (Artistic Director/London Opera Society; The Great Caruso, 1988) met and saw Callas perform several times in houses throughout the world and proves even more personally knowledgeable and fine-tuned about her voice than John Ardoin did in his encyclopedic The Callas Legacy (1977). Though a biography that breaks myths and draws upon fresh accounts written by Callas's family and secretary during the past decade, as well as upon interviews with Callas's fellow singers, conductors, and producers, this is as much a book about singing as about a person. The focus is equally upon the voice as the life, or upon the life of the voice, with only about a ten-year span in which the voice was at its most secure and responsive to every nuance of feeling Callas wished it to produce. Born in New York, she early began vocal training, went to Greece in the late 30's to study, began concertizing and learning roles. Most adept at florid bel canto, her voice stood up to the rigors of Isolde, Turandot, and Leonora, roles that called for a big sound to battle against the orchestra. She gave up these roles (Turandot was "a voice-wrecker," and houses called for Isoldes in German, not Callas's limpid, spontaneous, tender Italian), turned largely to Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, and the young Verdi, in whom she found huge rooms of fresh vocal drama untouched by fellow singers, allowing space for her dramatic coloratura. While still "amazingly fat," and jealous of her svelte sister, Jackie (as she was to be later of another svelte Jackie), she married her aging patron, Giovanni Meneghini, and in her voice's declining years ran off with aging billionaire AristotleOnassis. Callas died in Paris, weakened by pills, abandoned by Ari. A feast for fans, refreshing as a bowl of sun-ripened pears. (Illustrations—not seen.)

Product Details

Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

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Maria Meneghini Callas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
haasenpfeffer More than 1 year ago
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!).