More than four painstaking years in the making, a documentary that takes an intimate look at the life and work of Greek American opera singer Maria Callas will be released in U.S. theaters in early November.
New Yorkers will have an opportunity to catch the first glimpse of the film by director Tom Volf at the New York Film festival in early October.
The film is unique in that it will be the first look at the life and career of the greatest opera singer of the 20th century that is told in her own words.
Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film.
Much of the film uses Callas’ own voice from dozens of interviews and recordings.
When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words.
There are times in the Callas’ tumultuous life when destiny dealt her a cruel hand and when fame has left her feeling trapped in a gilded cage.
Among the many controversies covered in the documentary include the notorious walkout in Rome, when Callas abruptly cancelled a performance of “Norma” after one act, leaving various luminaries, including the president of Italy, in a state of shock.
It was hugely damaging to her reputation at the time, but she had warned the Rome Opera House she was suffering from bronchitis, and the venue had chosen not to have a standby ready. She won a lawsuit in court 13 years later over the incident, but she didn’t have control of the story, which proves to be a running theme in later scandals, such as her termination from the Met or her tortured relationship with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
The truth is inevitably more complicated — and, in Volf’s telling via this documentary, more generous to Callas.
Official US trailer for Tom Volf’s documentary Maria by Callas:
Since you’re here… I have a small favor to ask.
More and more people than ever before are reading The Pappas Post and despite increasing costs to maintain the site and provide you with the quality content that you deserve, I will never “force” you to pay for our website or add a paywall. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone. But at the same time I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep it both high quality— and free. We’ve implemented a “free-will” annual subscription for those who want to support our efforts. I guess it’s fair to call it a philotimo subscription… because you don’t have to do it but it’s really the right thing to do if you love the site and the content we publish. So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a “philotimo subscriber”. Click here to subscribe. If you’d rather make a one time donation, we will gladly accept any amount, with appreciation. Click here to donate any amount.