Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes

Ardoin, John

Published by Random House Inc (T)
ISBN 10: 0792442253 / ISBN 13: 9780792442257
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Synopsis: Maria Callas returned to the stage in 1971 to teach master classes at Juilliard. This intriguing forum later inspired Terrence McNally's acclaimed play Master Class. Outspoken and uncompromising in her artistic beliefs, Callas worked through her legendary arias from Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, and others. John Ardoin brilliantly captures the insights of a thoughtful singer who reveals herself to be not the imperious diva of her reputation, but a supremely self-aware artist concerned with passing along a great musical tradition.

Review: It proved its value repeatedly over the years, but John Ardoin's 1987 Callas at Juilliard mysteriously slipped out of print some time ago. Callas conducted 23 two-hour opera master classes in 1971 and 1972; Ardoin transcribed and arranged these working sessions on more than 70 arias. Far from the stereotypical self-serving diva putting in a personal appearance, Callas was remarkably practical and specific in her observations. Recurrent themes include diction (particularly the expressive uses of consonants) and the necessity of finding a natural flow for the accents of the words, scrupulously applied to the rhythms of the notes. Callas offered her own ornaments, cadenzas, alterations of word placement, and even cuts; all of these are supplied in musical notation among the copious musical examples in the book. Although she might have been expected to concentrate on soprano repertoire, Callas in fact covered not only arias for all of the other voice categories but also duets (from Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, Cavalleria Rusticana). Often what Callas asked for was more easily said than done, and the overriding impression is of how exacting the profession really is. (Fans of the Terrence McNally play Master Class will be interested to know that Callas actually was conversant with the tenor arias in Tosca.) Amadeus Press deserves lasting gratitude for restoring this volume; it is to be hoped that someone will rescue Ardoin's 1974 study Callas, written with Gerald Fitzgerald, which is still the best book about the performer's art. --William R. Braun

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Title: Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes
Publisher: Random House Inc (T)
Book Condition: Very Good

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Ardoin, John
Published by Random House Inc (T) (1987)
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Ardoin, John
Published by Random House Inc (T) (1987)
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