“Some of the glossy photos in Maria by Callas, a luxe oversized hardcover, are as impossibly glamorous as a Vogue shoot. Others are as tragic as an opera. ‘What the public expects of me?’ she asks. ‘Certainly much less than what I expect of myself.'”
Featured in New York Times’ 2017 Gift Guide.
Maria by Callas: In Her Own Words is a book and documentary conceived by Tom Volf, a filmmaker and photographer. The filmmaker and his designers have shown the iconic Greco-American opera singer as an iconic celebrity, dressed like a million dollars, magnificently bedecked and thoroughly presented.
The filmmaker spent almost half a decade collecting a close portrait of the legendary soprano illustrated by exclusive photos and footage by the singer’s own Super 8 films, letters, live recordings, and behind-the-scenes footage. Volf traveled the world to interview the singer’s close friends and acquaintances, who opened their collections revealing a treasure of photographs, many of which came from the opera singer’s own albums.
The book and the documentary are composed with the consent of several of the loved ones of Maria, including her longtime best friend Nadia Stancioff and her favorite conductor Georges Pretre.
All her associates and friends collaborated to work on a book about her and gave their time, perspective, and everything possible to make it a compelling account of the singer’s life.
Regardless of one’s appreciation of Maria as a singer or otherwise, the magnetic force of her extraordinary personality is instantly evident in the well-selected photographs. Maria remains enthralling even when silent.
You won’t find a formal narrative in the book or the documentary. However, the short bits of the books comprise excerpts from interviews available in print and media on a wide range of subjects without editorial commentary. All quotes of Maria are provided in English and are presented without date or sources. However, their effect is laudable.