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Maria and the Bay of Naples

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Maria Callas

This morning we left Isernia and headed to Naples by van in the pouring rain. Our hotel overlooks the Bay of Naples that empties into the Mediterranean Sea. I love Naples and am always happy to return. Tonight our job is in a small church and we will be performing in honor of Maria Callas’s 100th birthday.

She has always been a great source of inspiration. She was not thought to be a perfect singer, but her depth of feeling, the way she expressed the inner narrative of an exquisite aria, was unique to her.

Having suffered much, she drew from her infinite well, conveying ecstatic heights to the abyss. Yet all the heartbreak of her heroines had not prepared her for her own.  Betrayed, forsaken, she was left without love, her voice, or hopes of a child, and was condemned to live out her life in solitude. I picture her wearing pearls. The light flooding her Paris apartment as she reaches for a small leather casket. Love is the most precious jewel of all, she whispers, unclasping the pearls that drop from her throat, as if scales of sorrow that soar and diminish.

The weather has cleared. Watching the white gulls fly above me I think of her. Happy 100th birthday dear Maria. As you sing in the beautiful aria Vissi d’Arte, truly you lived for love, you lived for art.

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