The Highest Notes

Maria Callas in Milan, preparing for the La Scala stage in 1958.

What I’ve always hoped to find in Milan, during many, many fashion weeks here, are traces of the glamorous Maria Callas, who took to the grand La Scala stage in the mid-1950s, and took the city by storm. Sometimes, seeing an elderly lady striding along in a giant fur coat, or catching a glimpse of some of the dapper men zipping along on their Vespas, you get a sense of that proud, high-drama Italian chic. But oh how I wish I could simply go to the Scala and see Callas perform.

Bellezza! (She’ll have to be included in any second volume of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite.) In this video, the great soprano explains what Prima Donna means. She doesn’t really have to spell it out, does she? Just look at her.

And here is a nice documentary, with loads of glamorous footage, starring Callas (naturally) and her tiny black poodle, named Toy.