Ruth Leon recommends… Maria Callas – Tosca 1964

Maria Callas – Tosca 1964

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Maria Callas was a Greek tragedy. Her enormous professional success, her determination to make herself over from the fat girl constantly shunned when young, into the greatest star opera had ever seen, her unparallelled musicality, her dramatic persona, all this was in counterbalance with a private life that was an almost unbroken disaster.

The Diva to end all Divas, yes, but what lies beneath could be heard in her voice, even when that miraclous instrument began to fray. Perhaps particularly when it began to let her down. No one did Diva like Maria Callas. As her career declined, her affair with the billionaire Onassis dominated the tabloids.

With her 1964 Royal Opera House comeback production of Tosca, she sought to set things right. Using the footage of  that performance as its primary focus, this film tells her story from today’s perspective with interviews from fans, like Rufus Wainwright, and opera experts like ROH director Antonio Pappano.

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