Maria by Callas provides a touching insight into the existence of one of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century, Greek-American Maria Callas. Her life was often as dramatic off stage, as on. She died in 1977, just 53 years old. In this beautiful documentary Director Tom Volf has put together restored archive material and found sound recordings where the superstar herself talks about her life. We also get to see excerpts from concerts in opera houses around the world. The result is both a lively timeline and a concert film with a unique protagonist in the limelight.
In the film we also see a conversation between Maria Callas and the great talk-show host of that time, David Frost. Volf thought the recording had been lost for future generations but found out that Callas’ butler had retained a copy. Among the topics Callas addresses in certain parts of the film is how she felt pressured by her mother and first husband to pursue her career at the expense of her children and traditional family life. She also talks about, what in many ways must have been her great love, the businessman Aristotle Onassis. The relationship between the two continued after he married Jackie Kennedy, and the drama was at the time one of the favourite topics of international tabloids. There are many aspects you can choose to focus on regarding Maria Callas, who has more or less become an icon. It is therefore nice that the film also allows us to see her excel in her most famous arias from the operas Norma, La Traviata, Carmen and Tosca. As she said to David Frost:«If someone really tries to listen to me, he’ll find all myself there».