Run time: 87 mins
Tom Volf’s loving restoration of the soprano’s famous Parisian performance captures an icon at the height of her talent and hints at the fall to come.
Celebrity culture is nothing new, and in the world of classical music it goes right back to the early stars of the recording era such as the tenor Enrico Caruso. But for sheer allure combined with personal charisma and technical brilliance, no-one has surpassed the soprano Maria Callas, who born one hundred years ago this December.
A night to remember. Maria Callas, the quintessential diva and the face of the opera in the 20th century, made her Paris debut with this legendary performance at the sumptuous Paris Opéra on December 19th, 1958, for one night only. Appearing on the famous stage wearing a million dollars’ worth of jewellery, she headlined a major social event, attended by “Le Tout Paris” (including French President Coty, Jean Cocteau, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, and many more). A first half of her favourite arias, and a second half which is a rudimentary staging of Act 2 of Tosca, it’s an astounding showcase of a criminally short-lived talent