Maria Callas: Sacred Monster
"I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil, either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged."-- Maria Callas This is the authoritative biography of one of the great icons of the century, Maria Callas, the most brilliant and controversial singer-actress of modern times. Written by a music scholar, opera critic, and, toward the end of Callas' life, a close friend, Sacred Monster is an account of the singer's triumphant and tumultuous public career and her private life. "There are two people in me, Maria and Callas....Their difference is only that Callas is a celebrity," she remarked. The celebrity Callas defined an age of opera. The private Callas is a source of lasting fascination. Sacred Monster is not only the definitive portrait of one of the greatest artists of the century, it corrects the many misguided books about Callas that have appeared since her death in 1977 at the age of fifty-three. Galatopoulos writes about Callas objectively -- recognizing her flaws, her temperament, and the signs of premature vocal deterioration. He re-creates the triumph of intelligence, hard work, musical talent, grit, and fierceness that enabled Callas to rise to superstardom. He recounts her sometimes stormy relationships with the conductors, managers, and fellow stars, and with her family, husband, and lover. Galatopoulos attended more than a hundred of Callas' performances and he describes not only the brilliance of her many triumphs, the disappointments of her setbacks, and the poignance of her premature decline, but also her legacy, which resides in her continuing influence and her extensive and valuable discography. Callas chose to share many of her most frank judgments about her professional problems with Galatopoulos. Perhaps most dramatically, in this book, which might almost be called "Callas Has the Last Word," Galatopoulos sets straight the soap opera portrait some have drawn of a shattered and reclusive woman abandoned by her lover, Aristotle Onassis. In fact, Callas and Onassis resumed their friendship shortly after his marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy. This portrait of Callas shows her in retirement every bit as forceful and engaged as she was on stage. Maria Callas: Sacred Monster is lavishly illustrated. One hundred pages of photographs show Callas' roles in a visual documentary of the period 1947 to 1965, a truly golden age of opera. Many of the images have never before been published. A complete survey of Callas' recordings and a list of her performances are also included.