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Maria Callas - The Black Pearl

  • Fidelio Cafe 91-95 Clerkenwell Road London, England, EC1R 5BX United Kingdom (map)

Written by Federica Nardacci

Starring Marco Gambino

Directed by Sophie Aldred

Music by Claudio di Meo

On 16 September 1977, celebrated soprano Maria Callas died in her Paris apartment aged 54. From that moment on her name went down in history as one of the greatest singers of all time. A heart attack was widely believed to be the cause of her death, but 40 years on there are still those who wonder whether, in fact, she took her own life. An extraordinary singer and actress, Callas has always been known for her troubled lifestyle, which slowly destroyed her career.

This monologue is the inner journey of Ferruccio Mezzadri, Callas’s trusted butler, who lived and worked by her side for more than 20 years until her death.

As if in a delirious dream, the butler goes through memories and flashbacks which bring forth some of the most significant moments in the artist's life, until - as if he were coming back to reality - he realises that everything has ended. With Callas' death, a long chapter of his own life has come to a close and he is able to separate himself from a great affection as well as an incredible world, leaving behind a glamorous life and the suffering he witnessed.

The project was conceived in 2014 by the musicologist Federica Nardacci and the pianist and conductor Claudio Di Meo, as a tribute to Maria Callas on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of her death, in 2017. The personal story narrated by the butler comes from an interview that the writer, Federica Nardacci, held with Ferruccio and which provided her with the inspiration for this monologue. All the biographical information in the play comes from the wide literature on Callas written over the last 40 years.

The Butler's personal and emotional account and judgements are purely the result of the writer’s imagination and feeling.

The play premiered in Singapore at the Esplanade Theatre in November 2016, produced by the Italian Cultural Institute and Bellepoque Arts Media, under the direction of Sabrina Candeloro Zuber. It starred Singaporean actor Gerald Chew as Ferruccio and the pianist and composer Claudio Di Meo.

Earlier Event: July 15
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Later Event: September 16
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