A Year in Books/Day 113: Maria Callas

  • Title: Maria Callas an Intimate Biography
  • Author: Anne Edwards
  • Year Published: 2001 (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Year Purchased: 2004
  • Source: Unknown
  • About: I’m always skeptical about any biography with the word ‘intimate’ in the title. It holds scuzzy connotations for me, as if I’m about to read the unnecessarily shameful details of a dead person’s life. If you’ve been following my Project 366, you know that I love, love, love a good biography; just not the sordid kind. As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about: there is no enumeration of distressing personal habits or focus on gross minutiae. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to celebrate either. This book is entirely middle-of-the road. It is neither offensive nor illuminating. It’s a quick, surface study of the great singer. If you don’t know much about Callas , it’s probably a perfectly utilitarian introduction. The photo section is the best part.

    Publicity photo of Maria Callas (December 2, 1...

    Publicity photo of Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977) as Violetta in La Traviata by Houston Rogers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Motivation: I needed 7 or 8 books for a long vacation. I bought this to round out the more intellectual fare I’d already purchased. This was my “easy, fun” read. Maria Callas was a diva when being a diva was something more complex and less hollow than it is now: talented, dynamic, demanding, always-changing, never boring. A great subject for the dull leg of a long car trip.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 53: “Maria knew no one on this boat, or the SS Stockholm, and had not yet learned where her father or Dr Lantzounis lived. She could think of no one else to contact in New York. In her purse were $100, her entire personal wealth. Yet she felt free for the first time in eight years. She was saying goodbye to Maria Kalogeropoulou. As her American passport stated, she was now Maria Callas.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7