Monday, May 12, 2008

La Stupenda on La Divina

I recently re-watched an interview of Joan Sutherland on Charlie Rose from several years back. I thought it pretty cute when Charlie asked "other than your own ... excluding your own, what other voice have you been enchanted by?"

"Flagstad. Tebaldi. Ummm... Callas." Charlie mentions he knows they worked together early in her carrer and asks what Callas was like to work with. Sutherland described Callas as “humble, very humble very sweet, very helpful, a worker - my goodness.”

"But, brilliant as an actress too?" asks Charlie.

Uh oh. Dame Joan gave her shoulders a nervous shrug, her eyebrows raised up
her to the top of forehead escaping worms. She remained silent – almost as though couldn’t believe the question had been asked. She issued forth more physical ticks - neck stretches, swang her head from shoulder to shoulder before responding with a long "ummmmmm.... in some cases.” Charlie was leaning in now. “ [acting] it was a bit hammy [loud, deep chuckle] but it ... it ... it told -- it ... it ... it was always full of a . . .
certain expression, yes.”

So from Miss Sutherland we now get a portrait of Callas as an enchanting singer, a kind, sweet, helpful woman . . . but a hammy actress. Wow!

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