How Does the Newspaper Review Help Us to Understand the Singing Qualities of an Operatic Diva Such as Callas?

Assignment 03
Part 1 The Diva
How does the newspaper review help us to understand the singing qualities of an operatic diva such as Callas?
‘I think it is an aura that some of them [singers] exude...something which many good, even excellent singers may not necessarily possess. There has to be something unusual, as well as competent about a Diva, something compelling about her personality, whether you like it or not, whether it be charming or repellent...or both at the same time.’   (Sir Charles Mackerras, AA100, Book 1 Reputations, Elaine Moohan, p163)
Maria Callas’ short but remarkable opera career and the scrutinised glamour of her social life made her an iconic figure. Using Sir Charles Mackerras’s traditional definition of a Diva and comparing it to Winthrope Sergeants   review of Verdi’s, ‘La Traviata’ I will explore the qualities Maria Callas posses and how they make her a true Operatic Diva.
After reading through Sargeant’s 1958 review of the performance of La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera House, the first thing I noticed was Sargeant’s changed view of Callas after watching her performance. Sergeant mentions that previously he found her ‘Reedy’ voice to be a lack of competency but now finds that its quality improves the performance, ‘I am beginning to accept the reedy tone quality as a characteristic of Miss Callas’s vocal personality.’ (Winthrope Sergeant, 6th of February 1958, New Yorker) From this alone we can see that Callas is displaying a major characteristic of Mackerra’s diva, her unusual voice.
‘Hers is not a pure, innocent voice (pure, innocent voices are a dime a dozen) but a fiery conveyance for female passion.’ (Winthrope Sergeant, 6th of February 1958, New Yorker) In this Sergeant is complimenting Callas’ individuality, she stands out from her contemporaries because of her voice. In the lavish, emotional, outlandish world that is opera, Callas displayed new heights of ‘fiery female passion.’  
Sergeant also makes a point of Maria...