No.7: Maria Callas – she gave something of herself
She needed contact with the audience. And to get the contact, she gave more than sound. She gave something of herself.
– Andy Anderson on Maria Callas
– YouTube, Maria Callas Documentary Life and Art, Part 3 @ 3:00
And here are some links.
It’s always the same, isn’t it? We contemplate the stars and they’re right there inside us. We’re both more and less than we think – and we keep giving ourselves away. That’s love.
The hit throws us into the drama – that which puts things (and us) in their place and gives them life. Then we have to be true to it. How to do that? By entering the world that the hit reveals.
I was 18, on the upper slopes of Mt.Olympus with a friend and a Greek soldier. It was mid-summer but we ran into a storm (or it ran into us). Without warning, the lightning and thunder struck, a single explosion with no delay between light and sound. I’d always wondered why Zeus, king of the gods, had nothing more than the thunderbolt as his ‘attribute’. At that moment, I knew. All my senses were obliterated: I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I had no sensation of my body. I hadn’t been physically struck by lightning – but I’d definitely been hit. And in that split second, when, fully conscious, all contact with the world was swept away, I realized that I was without limitation. It changed me on the spot. The way I see it is this. Before any ‘thing’ exists, including ourselves, there is something else that exists for and by itself – so that you can never encounter it in the company of others even when they are right next to you (like my friend and the soldier). You are always in your own. But that’s just the point: on your own is the only place to be. So the sole way to be true is to put ourselves in the way of the hit – and then to go into the world that it opens up. Protection can’t work. We have to go on, not knowing where the path will lead. And there, in the midst of the greatest chaos, and against all computable odds, we find the simultaneous lightning and thunder that obliterates everything.
Life – whose centre is everywhere, a continuity that can create new awareness, new sound, new dimensions – can take any direction. All this is now.
This is life in overdrive, where losing yourself and finding yourself are the same thing.
The hit takes us out of time and place. It undercuts lineage and inheritance. It opens us up. It must be love, love, love. It’s a game you play with yourself as a piece. Pleased to meet you, hope you know my name.
Out of the shadow comes love, a circle that doth restless move. And what is it to love? To give oneself. In ancient days, poets would go into battle with the warriors, urging them to courage and great deeds. They were opening up worlds. This can still be done. It can always be done.
And before we know it – and more to the point, before they know it – things begin to take off. Callas once stopped a performance and took a bow for 14 minutes, remaining quite motionless while the audience went wild. “Reality was on stage,” said Maestro Giulini on another occasion. “What stood behind me, the audience, auditorium, even La Scala, seemed artifice. Only that which transpired on stage was truth, life itself.”