Maria Callas is one of the most famous opera divas who ever lived.
MANY would argue that her fame had less to do with her vocal prowess and more to do with her temperament and famous (rich) friends.
She knew fashions and fashion designers and she knew how to wear clothes-except on this one occasion:
Since the theatre was full I would guess that there are others who were also in attendance on this particular evening.
The press had noted that according to her publicity people the somewhat mysterious Madame Callas would be wearing a Twenty Five thousand dollar couture ball gown for the occasion.
Indeed she entered in a stunning silk peau de sole gown, lavishly flounced and of a perfect cut, style and fit for her stunning model like figure.
Around her shoulders she had a stolla-a longer than average shawl or stole which was her style-she always wore them for concerts-I thought of the garment as her silk teddy bear-something she could play with, fondle, hide inside rather than using her expressive arms and hands as she might in an operatic performance.
This one was a little too shiny and didn't quite match with the fabulous dress.
As she walked across the stage to thunderous applause the stole began to move and in a long graceful descent, oozed off her shoulders and left a shiny trail behind her across the stage to mark her passage.
Not unlike a snail.
Only at the last second did she feel it going but she avoided snatching at it-simply stopped at the piano and waited for someone to go catch it and return it.
Almost immediately a gentleman in a tuxedo came out from the wings picked up the stole shook it to remove any pretentious dust and brought it back to Ms. Callas.
Instead of taking it from the man she turned her back to him arms gracefully outstretched indicating her should drape her with the fabric, which he did and she acknowledged with a quick smile and nod-
He exited to applause from the audience.
She stood therefor a moment as if by magic once again the stole began to escape from under he left arm heading for the stage floor.
She managed to catch the right end just as the rest plummeted off her shoulders.
Seeing yet another tragedy in motion, Tuxedo Man was already on his way.
Once again he retrieved the stole this time looking at it as rto inspect for hidden threads or motors, gave it a firm shake and when he was sure it was dead he offered it to La Callas who this time took it and deftly wrapped herself in it-the audience once again applauded more for her flourish than his assistance and then massively moaned as the stole again hit the floor.
TWO men showed up this time and picked up the stole-it was obvious that man #2 had something to do with wardrobe-there were inaudible words exchanged Callas took the stole folded it in half, gently laid it on the lid of the grand piano, the 2 men left, the audience quieted and the stole slithered off the piano and onto the stage.
The audience went wild Callas put up her hands in feigned despair Man #2 returned with what looked like a white cashmere stole-picked up the fallen predecessor and drug it, fluttering in protest, from the stage.
Callas then sang Oh Mio Babbino Caro better than she had in 20 years.
It was rumored that the offending wrap was tried for disturbing a diva and fined.
It was never seen again.
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