Callas and the sublime

Her voice was one of a kind—powerful but delicate, sensual and spiritual at the same time. It was a voice you could pick out from a thousand, one that made you think of grandiose landscapes, mountains and high Alpine lakes, with an echo of the deepest sea.
Dacia Maraini
I am translating a beautiful interview about Maria Callas with the writer Dacia Maraini. Maraini is a person of intelligence and integrity, in contrast to many people who have written about Callas. But I digress.

It struck me when I was typing the bit above that Maraini is describing the sublime—a Romantic or proto-Romantic notion of the sublime rather than a classical one, but the sublime nonetheless.

Read what the author of On the Sublime wrote about “sublime” versus “faultless” writers, and see if her or his words do not bring to mind Callas.
It is true that Bacchylides and Ion are faultless and entirely elegant writers of the polished school, while Pindar and Sophocles, although at times they burn everything before them as it were in their swift career, are often extinguished unaccountably and fail most lamentably. But would anyone in his senses regard all the compositions of Ion put together as an equivalent for the single play of the Oedipus?
On the Sublime (Περὶ ὕψους)
Eventually, I will offer you Maraini’s interview in several installments.

No comments:

Post a Comment