Monday, August 29, 2005

Old email about "Sacred Monster"

[Dr B--Friend who played her in "Masterclass" has mentioned that she feels personally compromised by the content of the Maria Callas biography "Sacred Monster."]

You feel personally compromised. How interesting. I think you should get over this. This is not the Maria Callas we thought we knew. She was completely transformed in my mind. I immediately went out and bought a bunch of recordings. I especially wanted to hear La Traviata because I was familiar with her mainly through Norma and Medea, quite different operas. I wanted to hear her more lyric side. I still feel exhausted after listening for a while. She was the most intense singer I've ever heard.

I went into Virgin to buy the CDs and was prattling on about the book, and the clerk said "She was never hotter." This is what opera should be. We should feel our souls laid bare.

I found the parts about the scandals, the sudden explosion of negative publicity surrounding completely trivial performance cancellations extremely shocking. No one seemed to come to her rescue. I am convinced that these things altered the course of her life much more than Mr. Onassis. The author has done her a great service.

Maybe it's her name. Maybe Giovanna Piccolini would work better than Ruth Ann Swenson. An american girl of swedish extraction doesn't seem like an opera singer.

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