Cyprus Problem

TMA: 03


How does the newspaper review help us to understand Callas’s reputation as a diva?

A Diva is a female operatic star. Callas fits on this definition because of her talented natural voice. Cassidy wrote a review article about Maria Meneghini Callas on her singing and acting performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on 3 December 1956. She played ‘the Mad Scene Act 3 of Ohime sorge il tremendo’.

In the ‘Mad Scene’, in which Callas plays the role of Luci in Donizetti’s opera, Lucia di Lammermoor’, the chaplain Raimondo enters the post-wedding celebrations and announces that Lucia has gone mad and murdered the husband she was tricked into marrying. Lucia then enters the hall, imagining that she will wed her true love, Edgardo, but instead she dies and he kills himself with hopes of meeting her in heaven (Met, 2009). In my opinion, Callas’s performance is presented with deep emotions. In the 'Mad Scene', we can see how she comes down the stairs, while singing and acting, which requires tremendous effort, practice and years of experience in opera. Callas’s piece of the play brought the opera to life.

Cassidy significantly researched Callas’s career. In the first three paragraphs of Cassidy’s article she is sceptical about Callas’s voice. For example, Cassidy states that ‘I am told by a source that doesn’t give me alibis that Callas had such a bad throat at the dress rehearsal they weren’t even sure she could go on’ (Cassidy, 1956).   I argue that Callas’s throat dryness was to cover her doubt and insecurity at reaching the high notes that abruptly ended the ‘Mad Scene’ prior to her finishing her part. Cassidy’s argument is that she could reach the high notes in other scenes of Act 3. She was informed that Callas rehearsals went well.
In the second part of the article, Cassidy provided positive feedback about Callas’s singing. She draws a detailed portrayal of her beauty that compliments...