An (almost) unseen photo from the archives at Teatro alla Scala which shows an emotional Maria Callas moved to tears by the incredible success of her Lucia di Lammermoor as the curtain closes mid-performance. A young Herbert von Karajan looks pleased too.
These historic performances of Donizetti's opera were during the 1954/5 season.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
Beautiful picture. Callas shared the same emotion about her art as did her audience. She was unique in so many ways, truly irreplaceable. The closest I got to her was seeing her performance costumes on display at a museum in Westwood. Even that was a chilling experience. Even though she shared her great gifts with the world, she is gone too soon.
Of course, von Karajan is laughing, the Nazi! Not that she was much of a human being, either!
I was at that great performance. I also attended all its rehearsals. They were also great. Callas was always very professional, arriving on time and completely prepared. Whatever Karajan asked her to do she complied beautifully.
Karajan was, is & passed as a hateful self loathing ignorant arrogant pos in dolce & Gabbana. The racist snake studied la callas shoulders (breath control, before each line inhale) & when her shoulders rose he knew she was about to sing & made her sound off. I forget exactly how look it up