Friday, December 2, 2011
Happy Birthday to: Maria Callas
Leonard Bernstein called her "The Bible of Opera."
In 2006, Opera News wrote of her "Nearly thirty years after her death, she's still the definition of the diva as artist — and still one of classical music's best-selling vocalists."
In 2007, she was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year, she was voted the greatest soprano of all time by BBC Music Magazine.
Maestro Tullio Serafin called her "Una grande vociaccia" ("A great, ugly voice").
Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini said, "It is very difficult to speak of the voice of Callas. Her voice was a very special instrument. Something happens sometimes with string instruments—violin, viola, cello—where the first moment you listen to the sound of this instrument, the first feeling is a bit strange sometimes. But after just a few minutes, when you get used to, when you become friends with this kind of sound, then the sound becomes a magical quality. This was Callas."
Classical record producer Walter Legge said she possessed that most essential ingredient for a great singer: an instantly recognizable voice - also calling her the "supreme mistress" of bel canto.
Maestro Antonino Votto called her "the last great artist" ... he continued, "When you think this woman was nearly blind, and often sang standing a good 150 feet from the podium. But her sensitivity! Even if she could not see, she sensed the music and always came in exactly with my downbeat. When we rehearsed, she was so precise, already note-perfect... She was not just a singer, but a complete artist. She was an aesthetic phenomenon."
Sir Rudolf Bing said of her: "Once one heard and [her] — one can't really distinguish it — in a part, it was very hard to enjoy any other artist, no matter how great, afterwards, because she imbued every part she sang and acted with such incredible personality and life. One move of her hand was more than another artist could do in a whole act."
Many of her fans called her 'La Divina'.
When you look up 'force of nature' in the dictionary, the entry reads: "in physics, one of the four fundamental forces that occur in nature and affect the structure of the universe, including gravitation, strong force, and weak force". Whatever you choose to call her ... in the minds and hearts of so many people, Maria Callas was, indeed, a force of nature.
Wishing the happiest of birthdays to Maria Callas, who would have been 88 years old today.