This week I have been researching, planning exploring music history. How different composers taught each other, and people learnt from other people’s work’s – pastiche composition.
So as I was digging around I thought why not do some more research into one of the singers I am inspired by. What can I learn from watching their performances or listening to them singing?
So here is a small insight into part of my project, it is a work in progress and one that you may be able to help me with 🙂
Maria was born in New York City on December 2nd, 1922 and was christened by her Greek parents Anna Maria Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou, her father in an attempt to make their surname more manageable later shortened it to “Callas”.
Her mother and father split up when she was 14 and along with her sister and mother they moved back to Greece where she continued her education.
After initially failing to gain entry to the prestigious Athens Conservatoire she was accepted by the Greek National Conservatoire and studied under Maria Trivella. During her time there, Maria was considered a hard working and dedicated student, completely uncompromising in her approach to her studies. She progressed quickly and was soon
tackling arias from some of the most challenging international operas.
After three years Maria auditioned again for the Athens Conservatoire and was taken on to study under Elvira de Hidalgo. Callas threw herself into her studies where she was often the first pupil through the doors in the morning and the last to leave at night. She loved her time studying and believed no matter how good you were you could always learn something new from those around you.
What do I find inspiring about Maria Callas ?
I love Callas’ energy on stage and in her recordings. Every note holds a significant importance giving her the most beautiful and sincere legato line. She uses a huge range of vocal colours from sensitive sighing to alluring and sexually-heated brash low notes.
Her overall tone is beautiful and warm, and sits easily on the listener’s ear similar to a mother’s lullaby to her baby.
She is like a fire-cracker on stage when she performs, exploding with energy and spontaneous acting ideas all of which make her so exciting to watch. I hope to take this aspect of her performance into my own.
I said previously in another blog post that one of her sayings was to prepare until in performance you can forget your techniques and improvise. This is a very exciting concept as one of my aims when performing is to make it seem like each thought and action has only just entered my head.
I would have loved to have seen her live, apparently her voice had a deep yet piercing resonance that cut through the air like a hot knife in butter.
Plus she always looked so glamorous, dripping in jewellery and her hair pristine. It must have been fabulous dressing up for the concerts. I think I will have to stick to the crystal at the minute and use my imagination.:)
Here is Callas singing Habanera from Carmen in Covent Garden
I would love to know if you have ever watched or listened to any of Maria Callas’s performances and if so what stood out to you about her performances? What do you think made her such a fabulous and engaging performer ?