The Diva / Plato on Tradition and Belief

Part 1: The Diva.

  How does the newspaper review help us to understand the singing qualities of an operatic diva such as Callas?

  We have learnt from the DVD on the subject of ‘The Diva’ that the role of an operatic Diva is that of a larger than life character, that takes a great deal of practice, rehearsal and preparation to fulfil the role. The definition of the word ‘Diva’ is that of someone of supreme ability in which the Diva conveys the “emotional nuances of the music” (E. Moohan p, 163) and performance of character to her audience.
  The newspaper review written by Winthrop Sargeant in 1958, is both a reliable and valuable source in which we are able to understand the singing qualities of Maria Callas. The source is of the time, a primary source and a source that is without bias opinion. After all, the writer is an opera critic who disliked Maria Callas’ performance the previous season. However, the season that Callas performs the role of Violetta, Sargeant was left in “complete agreement” with her admirers and that her interpretation of the part was “far and away the finest” that he had encountered.
  There a few things in the newspaper review that support the argument about the ability of Maria Callas’ vocal talents. The timbre of her voice is indeed of a ‘reedy’ nature (oboe and clarinet), and when Callas starts to sing at (0.12) and her voice starts off softly (piano) this characteristic can be heard. Sargeant mentions a ‘wobble’ in her voice a number of times throughout the article. Again this is a characteristic of Callas’ voice and can be evident in the high register notes when sung powerfully (1.04). At (1.14 - 1.18) in the recording the ‘wobble’ is noticeable again in the closing notes of the melody that reach the perfect cadence before there is a pause to start the next lines. These notes are sung with power and conviction in much the same way as the final cadence at the end of the piece (2.51) which conveys the emotion needed...