Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maria Callas…the goddess of her musical age


Maria Callas…the goddess of her musical age

The word diva in Italian means descendant of the gods. As musical theater occupied the throne of the arts throughout Europe in the eighteenth century, first emerging and crystallized in Italy, the interpretation of the diva was given to the singer who played the main role in music, i.e. opera, which was often the case. Built around a central female character, around whom the dramatic events revolved, the most important songs, or “arias” as they are known in classical music, were composed for them.

For an opera singer to be entitled to the title of “diva”, it is not enough that she has a sweet throat and a great voice, or that she is superior to her peers in terms of musical and theatrical performances, but she must also have Extraordinary appeal, an aura and presence, and his appearance enchants the soul, not only on stage, but in public.

Perhaps in the past and present centuries, and perhaps throughout the history of opera, one singer has not been identified in the collective consciousness with the title diva, the American singer Maria Callas of Greek descent (1923 – 1977), who was born. Today, December 2, marks the centenary. In fact, Callas transcended the title Deva, and she alone was called divine (la divina). In the middle of the twentieth century, he became a public figure and a public symbol of global importance, whose news filled the world and occupied people, including those who were not fans of opera and classical music.

The Aria, Pure Goddess (Casta Diva) in the first act of Italian author Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma, is best exemplified both in the literal sense of the title and in the pure performance and charisma of Maria Callas. Identification with the title of diva. In it, she plays the role of Norma, a high priestess of the Celtic Druids, a tribe of pre-Christian Western Europe. As for the aria she performs, it is a solo in which Norma prays to the moon, as it is a symbol of purity and peace, according to Druid beliefs.

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There are many levels of creativity in which Kalas’ ability to deserve the title of diva is evident. First and foremost is the performance level, where her throat reaches the extreme edges of human expression, from the bottom, where the melancholy, broken and plaintive voice is at the beginning of the song, to the top, where the voice is loud, full, eager and comforting at the climax. He is adept at controlling musical time, using it to affect the listener, so he secretly assumes the role of musical director, and the orchestra conductor has only the task of coordinating between the players.

Aiming to penetrate the depths of her listeners and create a strong empathy between them and the character she plays, Norma, Callas has unparalleled control over the so-called vibrato, or vibrato, of the voice. The tone emanating from her throat oscillates between a broad, monotonous, tinged sound almost with absolute will. The metaphysical and shuddering anguish reflects the psychological and emotional changes in the character, with dramatic and emotional effects.

In addition to great acting, Kalas also has a unique charisma. Whether the aria is presented theatrically as part of a complete performance in all the acts of the opera, or as a piece, staged (mise-en-scène) as a monologue accompanied by orchestra or piano without decoration, costumes or movement, the diva still has the ability to attract the eyes and ears, and focus on her. pays. While body language and facial gestures play a fundamental role in embodying the feelings and emotions of the performer, for the diva, like Callas, it is enough to stand still on the stage and step on it to enter the audience. Instantly becomes a vision for those present.

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Then his unusual appeal went beyond the walls of theaters and opera houses, to the windows of clothing stores and luxury fashion houses, especially in the fifties and early sixties of the last century, and he became a role model. Among the women of her era, in looks and singers. The diva of the era had a direct influence on the fashion industry in Europe and America. By drawing inspiration from historical designs sewn for her roles in operatic performances or the models she wore during concerts and public events.

Inspired by the diva and credited with designing and tailoring for her, and instrumental in creating the classic look, was designer Elvira Leonardi Poure, better known by her trade name BIKI. In 1951, Poiri met the famous soprano at a party invited by the son of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini. Since then, the process of collaboration between the two women has spanned several years. During her time, 24 coats, 200 dresses and nearly 300 hats were designed for the diva of the era, imprinting public taste with the stamp of both Callas and Peggy.

Half a century later, in July of this year, French fashion designer Stephane Rolland held a show during Paris Fashion Week for the Fall-Winter 2023-2024 season. birth Among his designs was an evening gown made of sheer silk organza, which he named “Costa Diva” in her honor and was inspired by the aria that Gallus famously sang as Norma in Bellini’s opera.

Transcending the boundaries of her diva status within the framework of music and the arts and crossing it into the public sphere had a quiet dark side. In a consumerist era that required the commodification of celebrities, especially women, Kalas was among the first to suffer restrictions on personal freedom due to their becoming public icons.

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Therefore, throughout his artistic career, he was under a lot of pressure, forced to control his body weight in order to adhere to formal standards that meet the wishes of producers and investors in the entertainment and media industries. Of her show, Rowland told The Associated Press: “Designing to honor Maria Callas was difficult and responsible. I tried to be inspired by her strength, her femininity and her sensitivity. She had to fight a lot in her life, so she faced it. To be strong.”

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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