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Maria Callas 1958 concert heads to big screen

Culture

Maria Callas 1958 concert heads to big screen

In her centenary year, Volf Productions and Composite Films have revealed that one of Maria Callas’ greatest filmed performances of all time has now been meticulously restored from the original reels in colour, 4K resolution and Dolby Atmos surround sound for the big screen in CALLAS – PARIS, 1958.

Tom Volf, Director and Producer of CALLAS – PARIS, 1958:

“In 2021, in a basement in Athens, I made an incredible discovery – the original film reels of a historical performance; Maria Callas’ Paris debut. After years of restoration work, I am honoured to be presenting this film not only because it is the first time ever that audiences will see a full colour performance by Maria Callas, but also because it gives us all the chance to experience what it was like to be in that Opera House in 1958 and spend the night with the greatest opera singer of all time.”

Fresh from being selected in the History of Cinema category to be shown as a Special Screening at this year’s Rome Film Festival, CALLAS – PARIS, 1958 is directed and produced by the team behind the award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary, Maria By Callas (2017), and distributed globally by Piece of Magic Entertainment. The newly restored film of CALLAS – PARIS, 1958 for the first time entirely in colourwill receive a worldwide exclusive theatrical run, releasing only in cinemas globally throughout November and December 2023.

Callas was one of the most talked about icons of her time, receiving more column inches than Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and still captivates music lovers to this day who are gripped by her tragic life alongside the drama and virtuosity of her performances. This cinematic masterpiece pays homage to the enduring impact of a musical legend, considered “the voice of the 20th century”, inviting her esteemed fans and new generations alike to experience the magic of this historic moment, now beautifully restored from newly discovered original reels to celebrate her centennial anniversary.

CALLAS – PARIS, 1958A night to remember. Maria Callas, the quintessential diva and the face of the opera in the 20th century, made her Paris debut with this legendary performance at the sumptuous Paris Opéra on December 19th, 1958, for one night only.

It was a major social event, attended by “Le Tout Paris” (including French President Coty, Jean Cocteau, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, and many more). Callas appeared on the famous stage wearing her most elegant couture and a million dollars’ worth of jewellery. She opened with her signature role, Norma’s “Casta diva”, followed by the haunting “Miserere” scene from Verdi’s Il Trovatore, before she lightened the mood with the mischievous “Una voce poco fa” from Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The climax of the evening came in the second half: a fully staged performance of Tosca, Act II.

 The repertoire in this performance shows Callas at her best, both in recital and as an operatic actress. Visual elements were as important as the vocal dimensions in her art. Available for the first time entirely in colour and in 4K Ultra HD – meticulously restored from the recently discovered original 16mm reels and a newly discovered sound source – this is an opportunity to experience this historical performance as never before.

This visual restoration of the film is only part of the story. The Dolby Atmos sound, equally precious, has been lovingly restored, drawn directly from Maria Callas’s personal archives. Every note, every nuance of her unparalleled voice has been preserved for posterity. The painstaking sound mix and mastering were entrusted to the skilled hands of Miraval Studios, ensuring that the auditory experience is as captivating as the visual one. 

Samuel Francois-Steininger, Producer of CALLAS – PARIS, 1958:

“I have been working on the restoration and colorization of film for over fifteen years and brought all that experience to this project. We have worked tirelessly to create a perfect rendition that allows audiences to fully immerse themselves in the unique and special talent that is Maria Callas.”

‘CALLAS – PARIS, 1958’ will be in cinemas exclusively in November and December 2023; visit MariaCallas.Film to book your tickets now.

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