Callas: A Documentary Plus Bonus (1978)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Vocal Music  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Nathan Southern

As the subject of several recent documentaries, books, and a feature film, Maria Callas - the most infamous operatic diva of the mid-late Twentieth century - receives her fullest biographical portrait in the 1978 made-for-television documentary Callas: A Documentary Plus Bonus. Narrated by Callas's friend and confidante, filmmaker Franco Zefferelli, and written by John Ardoin, this two-hour motion picture weaves together a vast amount of material - including interview, performance, and newsreel footage - to illuminate Callas's ability, her tempestuous (and controversial) personality, the trajectory of her life, and, ultimately, her death in the late seventies. Several of the film's smaller areas of emphasis include: Callas's affair with Aristotle Onassis, quarrels with manager Rudolf Bing, the unpleasant "radish" incident with Luchino Visconti, Callas's operatic debuts, her experiences at La Scala, and the depression that contributed to her deteriorating health.