Maria Callas' Last Tour
40th anniversary of her death (16 Sep. 1977)In 1973 pianist Robert Sutherland was invited to help Maria Callas prepare for her come- back tour. He stayed, travelling with her for 15 months and then working with her in the studio until shortly before her death.
Robert Sutherland was the young pianist who played for Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano on their doom-laden 1973-4 concert tour. This attractive and candid memoir of that time provides one of the best available snapshots of these two immensely gifted and insecure artists and their attempt to prove to the world and themselves that their ageing voices were still all that they had been. Sutherland is a convincing witness that there were still good nights, usually when the absence of prestigious critics meant that there was less pressure to excel, a pressure which caused, often as not, precisely that tightness and loss of power of which the critics were to complain. Sutherland is entertaining about other people’s paranoia--that of the older accompanist, Ivor Newton, whom he eventually re- placed, that of Callas and her circle--and successfully portrays himself as a humble servant of their music. He also captures her authentic voice: “A diva is a diva ... a great personality. Her achievement depends on the strength of her will when she knows what she must do. I am a diva. My audiences love me but they would not want me as the girl next door. I don’t care about the response of the critics. What matters is the feeling you receive from the people who are paying a high dollar to hear you sing.” --
This book was first published in the UK in 1999 (Constable). New Foreword. World rights. Full English pdf available.