Thursday, January 17, 2013

Maria Callas Quotes

1. When music fails to agree to the ear, to soothe the ear and the heart and the senses, then it has missed the point.

2. I don't need the money, dear. I work for art.

3. I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged.

4. There must be a law against forcing children to perform at an early age. Children should have a wonderful childhood. They should not be given too much responsibility.

5. Don't talk to me about rules, dear. Wherever I stay I make the goddam rules.

6. I was always too mature for my age - and not very happy. I had no young friends. I wish I could go back to those days. If I could only live it all again, how I would play and enjoy other girls. What a fool I was.

7. I would not kill my enemies, but I will make them get down on their knees. I will, I can, I must.

8. That is the difference between good teachers and great teachers: good teachers make the best of a pupil's means; great teachers foresee a pupil's ends.

9. When my enemies stop hissing, I shall know I'm slipping.

10. You are born an artist or you are not. And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks. The artist is always there.

11. An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house.

12. First I lost my voice, then I lost my figure and then I lost Onassis.

13. I cannot switch my voice. My voice is not like an elevator going up and down.

14. I prepare myself for rehearsals like I would for marriage.

15. I don't know what happens to me on stage. Something else seems to take over.

16. I would like to be Maria, but there is La Callas who demands that I carry myself with her dignity.

17. It's a terrible thing to go through life thinking that you have a rock on your side when you haven't.

18. If I have stepped on some people at times because I am at the top, it couldn't be helped. What should I do if someone gets hurt...retire?

19. Love is so much better when you're not married.

20. On stage, I am in the dark.

21. Women are not pals enough with men, so we must make ourselves indispensable. After all, we have the greatest weapon in our hands by just being women.

22. Real friends are very special, but you have to be careful because sometimes you have a friend and you think they are made of rock, then suddenly you realize they're only made of sand.

23. I will not be sued! I have the voice of an angel!

24. My poor sight gives me an advantage. I can't see the people in the audience who are scratching their heads while I am lost in my role and giving everything I have to the drama.

25. It is like comparing champagne with cognac. No-with Coca-Cola.

26. Some say I have a beautiful voice, some say I have not. It is a matter of opinion. All I can say, those who don't like it shouldn't come to hear me.

27. I admire Tebaldi's tone; it's beautiful - also some beautiful phrasing. Sometimes, I actually wish I had her voice.

28. What (Tulio Serafin) said that impressed me was: "When one wants to find a gesture, when you want to find how to act on stage, all you have to do is listen to the music. The composer has already seen to that." If you take the trouble to really listen with your soul and with your ears - and I say soul and ears because the mind must work, but not too much also - you will find every gesture there. And it is all true, you know.

29. "Bel canto" does not mean beautiful singing alone. It is, rather, the technique demanded by the composers of this style - Donizetti, Rossini, and Bellini. It is the same attitudes and demands of Mozart and Beethoven, for example, the same approach and the same technical difficulties faced by instrumentalists. You see, a musician is a musician. A singer is no different from an instrumentalist except that we have words. You don't excuse things in a singer you would not dream of excusing in a violinist or pianist. There is no excuse for not having a trill, for not doing the acciaccatura, for not having good scales. Look at your scores! There are technical things written there to be performed, and they must be performed whether you like it or not. How will you get out of a trill? How will you get out of scales when they are written there, staring you in the face? It is not enough to have a beautiful voice. What does that mean? When you interpret a role, you have to have a thousand colors to portray happiness, joy, sorrow, fear. How can you do this with only a beautiful voice? Even if you sing harshly sometimes, as I have frequently done, it is a necessity of expression. You have to do it, even if people will not understand. But in the long run they will, because you must persuade them of what you're doing.

30. (on making studio recordings) It takes a little more time to get into the role, but not very much more. In making a record you don't have the sense of projection over a distance as in an opera house. We have this microphone and this magnifies all details of a performance, all exaggerations. In the theater, you can get away with a very large, very grand phrase. For the microphone, you have to tone it down. It's the same as making a film, your gestures will be seen in close-up, so they cannot be exaggerated as they would be in a theater. 

31. (Serafin was) an extraordinary coach, sharp as a "vecchio lupo" (sly fox). He opened a world to me, showed me there was a reason for everything, that even fiorature and trills…have a reason in the composer's mind, that they are the expression of the stato d'animo (state of mind) of the character - that is, the way he feels at the moment, the passing emotions that take hold of him. He would coach us for every little detail, every movement, every word, every breath. One of the things he told me - and this is the basis of bel canto - is never to attack a note from underneath or from above, but always to prepare it in the face. He taught me that pauses are often more important than the music. He explained that there was a rhythm - these are the things you get only from that man! - a measure for the human ear, and that if a note was too long, it was no good after a while. A fermata always must be measured, and if there are two fermate close to one another in the score, you ignore one of them. He taught me the proportions of recitative - how it is elastic, the proportions altering so slightly that only you can understand it…But in performance he left you on your own. "When I am in the pit, I am there to serve you, because I have to save my performance." he would say. We would look down and feel we had a friend there. He was helping you all the way. He would mouth all the words. If you were not well, he would speed up the tempo, and if you were in top form, he would slow it down to let you breathe, to give you room. He was breathing with you, living the music with you, loving it with you. It was elastic, growing, living.

What do you think of Maria Callas quotes?

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