'With a true storyteller's instinct, Anne Edwards has fashioned an engrossing novel that sings. Brava!.' - ED McBAIN. '...This grand love affair, played out against an international background, makes for an exciting read. A real page turner.' - BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFROD. The extraordinary voice and charisma of La Divina, Athena Varos, fuel her rise to fame as one of this century's greatest opera divas, and her sensational private life makes her into the stuff of legend. Set against a series of richly evocative backdrops - from the Bronx of the 1930s to German-occupied Greece during the Second World War to the dazzling opera and monied society of Paris, Rome, Venice, New York, and Buenos Aires, this is also the story of Varos's riveting and stormy affair with ruthlessly ambitious, sexually charged Greek shipping tycoon Mano Zakarias.
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In her latest laminating of a celebrity lily, Edwards (The Grimadlis of Monaco; Wallis, etc.) carefully avoids naming names in this blowzy fictional take on the doomed diva, Maria Callas, whose sensational opera career had all too short a lease of 12 years. A railroad apartment in the Bronx was an unlikely nest for a famous soprano, but it was there that the young Athena Varosoupolos first heard a record of Aida and learned piano. In 1939, though, unhappy mother Kuri, with Athena and voluptuous Aunt Seraphina, returned to her native Athens, leaving Athena's gentle, failed father in New York. It is while living at the house of that elderly and kind charmer Uncle Spiro that Athena is ``discovered''--but then Athens suffers during invasions of WW II; Seraphina is destroyed in spirit; and Athena's coach is killed as a spy. Athena's career takes off after the war, and in Italy, under the wing of a Famous Conductor, she scores in La Gioconda, where ``her voice lunged thrillingly to an A flat...before she fell dead in a heap.'' There's a marriage to banker Roberto--her future manager, but, alas, homosexual. Then enter Mano Zakarias, a shipping magnate--short, tough; he will marry a Famous Widow. The now Famous Athena is a staple on Mano's yacht with celebs like Coward, Dietrich, et al. Athena waits for marriage with Mano, but there's the horrible news of his marriage to the Widow. After a screaming breakdown, Athena will proclaim, head high, ``I am still...la Divina!'' There's more about high living than about high notes here- -though we doubt Noel Coward ever could say, ``Frankly, I'm grateful to whomever placed you beside me.'' Still, with all the glitter, drama, and naughty bits, frankly, whom cares? -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
What a good idea--a novel based on the life of the great opera diva Maria Callas. There was so much drama in that woman's life, a novelist has only to worry about making sure a fictionalized version doesn't seem too overwrought. And in popular biographer Edwards' prolific but uncalloused (no pun intended) hands, there's no sense of the story being overdone. The main character is called Athena Varos here, and Edwards' take on events closely--and, perhaps more important, unsensationally--parallels the real ones. Edwards has a sensible understanding of her character's--and obviously Callas'--incentives, which motivated her not only to rise to great heights, but to do so through consummate artistry. Edwards follows Athena's initial steps as an opera singer (born in the U.S., Athena was taken as a teenager by her mother back to her family's homeland, Greece), her establishment in the operatic firmament by hard work in Italy, her problematic marriage, her affair with a Greek shipping magnate, and the celebrity that brought her name to the attention of a wider public than simply opera enthusiasts. And not only opera lovers will appreciate this felicitous--no, striking--fictional biography. Brad Hooper
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Descrizione libro Charnwood, Leicester, 1996. Hard Cover. Condizione libro: Very Good. No Jacket. Cover Art (illustratore). Large Print - 1st Edition. X-Library with normal flaws.LARGE PRINT.The hard cover has very light shelf wear. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hard Back. Codice libro della libreria NO 29253
Descrizione libro Large Print. Condizione libro: Used: Good. ex library so some stamps etc.Good overall condition . Sent next working day from the u/k 1st class. Codice libro della libreria 0607H307229