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Maria Callas: The Woman behind the Legend Paperback – October 14, 2002
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The author has entered the complex and contradictory mind of Maria Callas in an extraordinary way, and the result is a powerful story told movingly yet without exaggeration. It is unquestionably an important book, and surely the finest biography of Callas ever written. (John Ardoin, Author of The Callas Legacy)
She will have the people of Cailornia in her heart. I know that becasue i experienced it. (Pauline Lubens San Jose Mercury News)
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Top Customer Reviews
Critics say that this is the best book on the intensely private yet captivating Maria Callas. I'll go farther than that and say that it is the best biography I have personally EVER read and I am a huge fan of biographies. Yet, I can't quite put my finger on why its so good. Maybe its because Arianna Stassinopoulos shows a profound empathy for the diva or perhaps it's because she interviewed practically every living person who knew her. Maria Callas, the love interest of Aristotle Onassis who later dropped her for Jacqueline Kennedy, and of course the greatest dramatic opera singer who ever lived, is brought to life right in front of you in this fantastic, well ..... just read this book. You'll love it as much as I do.
I have not read any other biography on Callas, but I listen to her avidly (her La Wally aria is particularly addictive) and have her Tosca performance on DVD as well as the documentary Maria Callas: Life and Art. But Callas's music alone has always made me wonder about her. Such deeply mined emotions in her singing, such ferocity, such purity, such power. How does she get all these in her performances? Where does she mine them? Zefirelli has compared her to Michelangelo, Bernstein has called her the greatest artist in the world. This book answers these questions and explains why. I have to say that it is a compulsive page-turner, even now in the twenty-first century where opera is no longer mainstream. There's always something interesting in each page. At the same time the biographer doesn't belabor a particular episode or detail in Maria's life as to make it boring or overly dramatized. And Arianna Stassinopoulos is no Kitty Kelly: everything seems very well-researched and reliable.
I realised why her voice had sounded hard on the complete recording of "Carmen" I have with her in the title role. She was such a superb stage performer, as well as a wonderful singer, that she played "Carmen" as a hard-bitten, promiscuous woman, and adapted her voice to match. Moreover the book chronicled the massive frustrations, uncertainty and unhappiness that Callas suffered, as a sad counter-balance to her phenomenal success as an opera performer - possibly the greatest dramatic soprano, ever!
The book, which I bought through Amazon, was in great condition, at a very reasonable price, and I will treasure it. It has added a new dimension and enjoyment to this old bloke's understanding of great music.
Above all, this book was a major "undertaking" for the author which she executed superbly! What a story! What a book!
As the years passed, the few opera loving people I knew would give me a puzzled look whenever I confessed that I not only didn't like Callas -- I loathed her.
One day, I overheard Tosca being sung by a ringing, glorious voice, ripe and golden. I was astonished to learn that the singer was La Divina. Okay, the top notes wobbled, blah, blah, blah, but boy oh boy, the precision of the coloratura passages, the mind behind the delivery, the phrasing -- you get the point. I was hooked! I had never experienced such a reversal in my belief system in my life. The singer I loathed was now a singer I adored.
This book makes my understanding of Maria Callas, and how her voice got to be what it became, even more profound. The writing is easy and effortless, flowing naturally from point to point. The tragic beginning of her life, clawing her way note by note up the world's stages was magnificently depicted by a writer with clearly magical chops.
Simply, this is the magical story of a myopic New York girl with a big, natural voice who fell on the doorstep of a great Spanish coloratura soprano who happened to be teaching in Greece, who seized the world stage where she was cheered as loudly as she was booed (at the same time!) and who fell in love with a philandering Greek tycoon, who dumped her for a president's widow. How on earth did she find all the material to fill out the book, when the subject was a notoriously cranky hermit?Read more ›
for love. This fascinating, thoroughly researched biography feels like
a novel, it is riveting, and beautifully written.
You hear her voice and fall in love with it, you see her face in photos
and you are captivated. When you read her story you will begin to understand how much she gave to us, with such great love and sacrifice,
for her beautiful art.
She was a powerful spirit who lived every moment to the fullest.
A fabulous book by Arianna Huffington! Grazie Mille!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just love this women ,she is great, and her live story is something you would need to readPublished 5 months ago by rev,catherine claudette forster
If you are an opera lover, consider this book a must. Maria Callas had many challenges during her career and she talks about her leading men, and her problems with lovers like... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Francesca Forte
Well written and informative book. Ariana did not speak to Maria's maid who informed another writer Nicholas Gage that Maria had Onassis' baby boy who died same day he was born. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really an excellent study on the Callas reign, with an opinion and a clear focus on the person and the life outside the Opera Houses, at the same time showing the great landmarks... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Fruchstuck
The book could have been better. I thought the story, as written by Huffinton was rather boring until I got halfway through the book. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jewels