Technology meets La Divina

Opera buffs are a quarrelsome bunch, capable of arguing for hours over who was the finest tenor, bass, or soprano. They have even been known to argue about Maria Callas, hailed by many as La Divina. How can we ever know just how good she was? Like arguing over football players from different eras, it is surely a fruitless discussion – unless they happen to be one of the buffs who had the good fortune to see Maria Callas’s recital at the Rosey Concert Hall on 20 November. Brought back to life by quite astounding technological precision, a Callas hologram with the diva’s own voice plucked from some of her finest recordings, was accompanied by the very real Geneva Chamber Orchestra conducted by Eimear Noone. And “see” is the key word. The audience heard Callas’s voice – but what emerged from the concert was her supreme artistry, stage presence and acting ability. It was extraordinary to witness how voice, gesture, expression and movement adapted to embody the innocence of Juliette, the cruelty of Lady Macbeth, the seductiveness of Carmen and the nobility of La Wally. And more than one buff came out of the concert vowing to return to his vinyl collection, saying, “So that’s it. Now I know why she was called La Divina.”

Callas in Concert