In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas, the WFMT Radio Network and Jon Tolansky present an exclusive documentary memoir celebrating the legendary diva. Through interviews and commentary, this special explores how after all this time Callas’s work still mesmerizes the musical world in such a unique way.
In this documentary, we hear from Maria Callas herself, singers John Dobson, Mirella Freni, and Victor Godfrey; conductors Sir Edward Downes, Bernard Keeffe, and Nicola Rescigno; and others who knew Callas and her work, such as Cecilia Gobbi (daughter of baritone Tito Gobbi), former EMI classics engineer Robert Gooch, The Earl of Harewood, President of Warner Classics Alain Lanceron, Christopher Raeburn (former Head of Opera for Decca Classics), and former General Director for Royal Opera House Covent Garden Sir John Tooley.
The documentary is a mesmerizing journey into the life and artistry of Maria Callas, showcasing her remarkable talent and enduring influence on the world of music. Musical highlights from the documentary include unforgettable performances of a variety of works from Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, Bellini’s Norma and Puccini’s Tosca, among others. Experience the timeless magic of Maria Callas in this one-of-a-kind tribute to a true opera legend.
About Host and Producer Jon Tolansky:
Jon Tolansky specializes in making documentary features on composers and performers for international radio organizations and recording companies. These have included the BBC, the WFMT Radio Network, the CBC, EMI Classics, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon and VAI Records. He pioneered the first sets of documentary profiles on CD, for which he has collaborated with artists such as Grace Bumbry, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Mirella Freni, Angela Gheorghiu, Carlo Maria Giulini, Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne, Yevgeni Kissin, Antonio Pappano, Luciano Pavarotti, Ruggero Raimondi, Mstislav Rostropovich, Giuseppe di Stefano, Dame Joan Sutherland and Jon Vickers.
Jon Tolansky has written on music and performers for the Oxford Companion to Music, Cambridge Guide to the Orchestra, Opera House (the magazine of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), On Air (the magazine of the BBC World Service), Andante Magazine, Bambill (Brooklyn Academy of Music publication), Living Music (the magazine of the London Symphony Orchestra), The Gramophone, Opera Magazine, Limelight (the magazine of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), the Grand Théâtre de Genève, and Classic Record Quarterly. In 2006 he co-wrote the autobiography of the baritone Peter Glossop with the artist.
Jon Tolansky created the ‘Profile of the Artist’ events at the Barbican Centre, a series of public interviews with some of the most highly sought after performers. He organized these for the Music Performance Research Centre, now called Music Preserved, which he initiated and co-founded in 1987 as a unique repository of mostly unduplicated live performance archive-recordings. He also initiated and hosted an historical series of recorded interviews with some dozens of major international performers for the Royal Opera House Archives (now called the Royal Opera House Collections) as part of the centenary commemorations of the death of Verdi in 2001.