Entertainment » Movies

Maria By Callas

by Noe Kamelamela
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Nov 5, 2018
'Maria By Callas'
'Maria By Callas'  

With narration of her letters and quite a few lovely behind the scenes clips and fantastic performances, "Maria By Callas" provides a window into the heart and mind of the great Greek American opera singer Maria Callas at her zenith, as well as towards the end of her performing career. Her commanding presence and adherence to personal artistic standards are legendary and as such even what is captured in Tom Volf's film is only the afterimage of a flame long ago extinguished. In interviews and letters, she seems arrogant and demanding, but the proof of her skill shines in the choice scattering of dazzling performances of fully staged arias, including her one foray into film as the lead actress in Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Medea."

Shown here is her lovely voice, her demeanor and her tone, but also her personal struggles as an artist and a woman. In many ways, she herself would have shrunk from even these tiny revelations of her marital and creative struggles. Volf does not fully investigate her medical issues, which is appropriate and only briefly mentions her romantic travails. The true jewels are her eyes and the joy in her eyes when she knows the audience is truly following her and loves what she is doing when she is fully one with the audience and her peers. Despite the difficulties that her letters insist on, we are shown breathtaking arias that she makes look easy.

Gorgeous, lovely, learned, fluent in a variety of languages, La Callas, La Divina ages beautifully through the documentary. After all, this starts not at the beginning of her years, but more near the middle of her fame and infamy. She is a woman followed by cameras at every turn and hounded by questions she tends to dodge. I wouldn't recommend this for people who don't know Maria Callas' work, but more for true fans of hers who are dying to know more about her, not just her recordings and temper, but her inner life. Perhaps by knowing her motivations and standards for work, virtuosos with similar temperaments can best hope to attempt similar dedication to the arts.

Noe Kamelamela is a reader who reads everything and a writer who writes
very little.


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