MARIA BY CALLAS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Maria By Callas is a special treat for any fan of hers and a bore for anyone that is not that into opera. This film is almost two hours long, and it is filled from the beginning to the end with the music and voice of this great woman.
This documentary does something rather interesting by using broadcast interviews of Maria Callas at different times in her life and letters to her friends to narrate the story. And what a story it is. Maria Callas was a Greek-American opera singer considered to be one of the outstanding soprano singers of the 20th century. Long after her death, this diva’s extraordinary voice and acting continue to enchant people the world over.
Maria Callas was adored by both public and critics alike for her vocal technique and dramatic gifts. Her repertoire ranged from classical operas to the Bel Canto works of Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini. Her unrivaled performances in masterpieces by Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner earned her the praised nickname of ‘La Divina.'
The film starts with her take on her unhappy childhood. She speaks of her mother spotting her talent for music at five years old and pushing her into singing lessons when she would rather be just a normal kid. Her mother took her to Greece where she received her musical education. At school, her teachers describe her as a model student. Fanatical, uncompromising, and dedicated to her studies heart and soul.
The film is not just about the music. It’s also about Maria's love life and the toll that working at such a high standard required of her. Don’t get me wrong, the music is vital in this film, and at times you can hear a pin drop as we all get transported by her voice as she sings on the big screen for us. The unseen footage from live performances that were filmed for whatever reason but never seen is worth the price of admission alone on this one. But, we get a much more rounded out picture of Maria the woman and not just Callas the singer.
This documentary Maria By Callas is a good film that lovers of opera will enjoy and fans of hers will want to buy. I give it an A rating and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Directed by Tom Volf
Selig Rating A
Running Time 1hr 53min
Limited Release November 23rd The Magnolia, The Angelika Film Center Plano
Starring: Maria Callas, Fanny Ardant, Joyce DiDonato, Aristotle Onassis, Edward R. Murrow
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.