It proved its value repeatedly over the years, but John Ardoin's 1987 Callas at Juilliard
mysteriously slipped out of print some time ago. Callas conducted 23 two-hour opera master classes in 1971 and 1972; Ardoin transcribed and arranged these working sessions on more than 70 arias. Far from the stereotypical self-serving diva putting in a personal appearance, Callas was remarkably practical and specific in her observations. Recurrent themes include diction (particularly the expressive uses of consonants) and the necessity of finding a natural flow for the accents of the words, scrupulously applied to the rhythms of the notes. Callas offered her own ornaments, cadenzas, alterations of word placement, and even cuts; all of these are supplied in musical notation among the copious musical examples in the book. Although she might have been expected to concentrate on soprano repertoire, Callas in fact covered not only arias for all of the other voice categories but also duets (from Lucia di Lammermoor
, Cavalleria Rusticana
). Often what Callas asked for was more easily said than done, and the overriding impression is of how exacting the profession really is. (Fans of the Terrence McNally play Master Class
will be interested to know that Callas actually was conversant with the tenor arias in Tosca
.) Amadeus Press deserves lasting gratitude for restoring this volume; it is to be hoped that someone will rescue Ardoin's 1974 study Callas
, written with Gerald Fitzgerald, which is still the best book about the performer's art. --William R. Braun
From Library Journal
After the celebrated soprano ceased public performances in 1965 she spent years in self-study analyzing every detail of interpretation. The result was a series of master classes in 1971-72 at the Juilliard School of Music. The noted critic of the Dallas Morning News has condensed tapes of the classes into an extremely valuable discussion not only of Callas's distinguished roles but of roles for the other voices as well. The book is organized by composer and within composer by aria. It is richly illustrated by musical examplesnot as they appear in the score, but as Callas suggested they be interpreted. Highly recommended for all voice students and as a manual of performance practice. William Shank, CUNY Graduate Sch. Lib.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the