On Monday March 15th, the General Consulates of Greece and Italy in Los Angeles in collaboration with Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the Associazione Internazionale Maria Callas, Venice, and the LA Opera, organize an event to celebrate the life and music of Maria Callas in the context of the Ring Festival LA.
Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the twentieth century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique with great dramatic gifts. An extremely versatile singer, her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini; further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, the music dramas of Wagner. Her remarkable musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Born in New York City and raised by an overbearing mother, she received her musical education in Greece and established her career in Italy. Forced to deal with the exigencies of wartime poverty and with myopia that left her nearly blind on stage, she endured struggles and scandal over the course of her career. She turned herself from a heavy woman into a svelte and glamorous one after a mid-career weight loss, which might have contributed to her vocal decline and the premature end of her career. The press exulted in publicizing Callas’s allegedly temperamental behavior, her supposed rivalry with Renata Tebaldi, and her love affair with Aristotle Onassis. Her dramatic life and personal tragedy have often overshadowed Callas the artist in the popular press. Her artistic achievements, however, were such that Leonard Bernstein called her “The Bible of opera”, and her influence so enduring that, in 2006, Opera News wrote of her, “Nearly thirty years after her death, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist—and still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists.”
The event includes the following presentation and exhibits.
MARIA CALLAS & RICHARD WAGNER – A Surprising Couple Lecture by James Conlon, LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music Director followed by the opening of MARIA CALLAS: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth Introduction by Bruno Tosi, President, Associazione Maria Callas Installation by Barton Myers Associates and Sussman/Prejza & Co. & presentation of The Young Maria Callas edited by Bruno Tosi (Guernica Editions, 2010)
Monday, March 15, 2010 @ IIC
6:30 pm lecture
7:30 pm exhibit opening and book presentation
Reception to follow
RSVP to (310) 443-3250 x.114 by Friday, March 12.