Diva

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Pub Date Mar 14 2024 | Archive Date Mar 22 2024

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Description

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she's the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself.

When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she's found a man who sees the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Onassis introduces her to a life of unbelievable luxury, mixing with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then, suddenly, it's over. The international press announce that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice.

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking...


Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook
ISBN 9781035907021
PRICE £16.00 (GBP)
DURATION 11 Hours, 46 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 44 members


Featured Reviews

Possible spoilers


I feel like I've heard of all the bigger names in this book, without actually knowing much about them, Callas included, so this was very interesting.
The story and narration were fab, and the added bonus of some singing was pitch perfect 😃

I had a lot of sympathy for Callas, she seemed to be surrounded by people who were just out for themselves, to see what they could get from her. From the beginning you know how the story plays out, so know that it's not happy ever after.

A great cast of characters, the minor ones at times felt like name dropping, but it added context to how famous she was.

For me, this was an excellent listen.

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Maria Callas was the original Diva. An opera goddess.
I knew of her name but never knew anything about the woman. Although this book is a work of fiction it does follow her life and the people she had with her. It was interesting to see the relationship she had with her parents. Also her husband.
Ultimately the relationship she had with Aristotle Onassis. She was a woman who just wanted to be loved.
The audiobook brought the story to life. The feeling of the era. There was even snippets of the Divas voice. Ending the book I started listening to recordings of her. What a woman and what a voice. Thank you Daisy Goodwin for telling her story.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy

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I’m not an opera fan, but I do remember Maria Callas being the subject of press attention in the 1950s and 1960s. She was, as the title suggests, the diva of the day and her private and professional life was always reported. With that in mind, I felt this fictional account of her life and loves us both lively and accurate. It captures the essence of the lady and those around her.

The narration throughout is superb. Maria has real substance and the writing reflects a conflicted character who both craved and feared the spotlight. She was used and abused by many around her. Her first husband saw her as a money pot and had little regard for her physical or mental health as she jetted around the world performing in every significant venue,

The timeline moves back and forth between her early years and her prime as a singer. Without doubt, her voice was spectacular and there are snippets within the recording. Her fame came at personal cost, particularly after her relationship with Onassis. Here was a woman seeking genuine love and friendship, but she was treated as a possession. I thought the portrayal of Elsa Maxwell particularly compelling; she was the means to the rich and famous and the celebrity culture was alive and well many decades ago, There’s much name dropping; the Windsors, Dietrich, Lollobrigida, Bardot…the list is endless but in this context it really fleshes out the times and the society circles that Callas was frequenting.

I’ve really enjoyed this title. Surprisingly detailed, it would make a cracking film.

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This was one of the greatest injustices of the 20th Century, when the operatic Diva Maria Callas was usurped by Jackie Kennedy. Jackie Kennedy shone through the 60s as the glamorous first landy and tragic widow, swiftly overshadowing the genius of Maria Callas when she married Maria's love, Aristotle Onassis. This is a memoir of the jet set in a different era and it is told wonderfully

The audiobook is well written and reflects the times, where a woman will give up her independance for love, especially when her voice will not last for ever.

A great audiobook for people who like to see all sides of history

Thank you to NetGalley for this awesome audiobook. The review is left voluntarily

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Thank you for granting me early access to this audiobook and a special thank you to the narrator. What a performance. I loved it so much.
I've always enjoyed reading historical fiction about real historical figures, the way this one is written is so enchanted. I was so fascinated by Maria Callas who I didn't know anything about, as soon as I finished reading it, I went into rabbit hole of finding out more. This was fantastic read/listen

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I knew nothing about Maria Callas ✨ la divina ✨ or the competitive world of opera singing before going into this but I am ✨fascinated✨ by stories from the Golden Hollywood Era. I was excited to immerse myself in this story and see myself spending many many many hours in a Wikipedia rabbit hole in my immediate future. Daisy Goodwin has piqued my interest and this won't be the last story I read about Maria Callas. 4 stars.

The audiobook narration was captivating from the first word and throughout. The accents and voices of all the characters were impressive and believable, especially the male impressions. 5 stars.

✨Diva✨ is out in the UK on 14th March 2024! Thank you, Head of Zeus, Aria + NetGalley for the chance to listen and review this audiobook before it publishes #Diva #NetGalley

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The audiobook narrator was great so I recommend listening to this novel if you have any interest! I found it fascinating!

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We tend to think of Maria Callas as Greek, but she was born to Greek parents in Manhattan, New York, in December 1923 and only moved to Athens when she was thirteen. Her original surname was Kalogeropoulos but her father changed it to 'Callas' to make it more manageable in the States. When she was back in Athens - supposedly so that she could get appropriate training for her voice - she was raised under the Nazi occupation by a mother who mercilessly exploited her and made no secret of her preference for her elder sister, Jackie.

Since my teens, I've been interested in the Kennedy clan. Maria Callas, like Marilyn Monroe, was one of the many people whose lives would not be improved by even a loose association with the Kennedys. Callas, herself, was known as being difficult. She knew what she wanted and needed to sing well and was ruthless about ensuring that her needs were met. In her private life, it was a different matter. She was exploited abused and betrayed by almost everyone she encountered - beginning with her mother. Her most famous relationship was with Aristotle Onassis, the man who professed to love her but who declined to marry her, even when he could have done so. He lavished jewels on her, and bought property for her use - but married Jacqueline Kennedy.

The story is lightly fictionalised. Daisy Goodwin says that she has taken some liberties with dates but, so far as I can see, the history is essentially correct. Callas is brought to life superbly and sympathetically. Her ability to be difficult is perhaps underplayed to some extent: good reasons were always presented for the way that she acted and the character in the book is best described as more sinned against than sinning. But, you're in the hands of a master storyteller here: I imagined reading the book over a week or so, but - in the event - I consumed it over two days, desperate to know what happened next. As if I didn't know - but that's Goodwin's skill. She takes a story you know and delivers it in such a way that you have to know what happens next. Callas is brought to life as not the best singer ever or the most beautiful but as the complete package - something which is hard to beat.

It's not just the celebrities we meet - the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, the leading lights of the opera world - that make the story so compelling. It's the insight into the woman with the brilliant voice and less-than-optimal private life. It's the insight into the world of opera in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Athens for a woman who would probably have been happiest as a Greek housewife. Goodwin's research has been meticulous but it's served up with a light hand and there's never a point where you feel that every bit of information has been ruthlessly shoe-horned in. It's excellent, compelling writing.

I was lucky enough to not only read the book but also to listen to an audio download, narrated by Goodwin herself, Josephine Goddard and Lorelei King. It's superbly done. The range of voices is excellent - I was never in any doubt as to which character I was hearing. I'd be delighted to hear any of the narrators again.

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So interesting to hear more about the life of Maria Callas, Splendidly narrated and love the extra music clips - would love more of those! But great to hear about her struggles. Really enjoyed this!

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As familiar as I am with Maria Callas as a singer, I never knew anything about her personal life – up until now!

The supporting cast in Maria’s life, and by extension this book, are quite something to behold. She is in circles with Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, and more icons of the mid-20th Century.

This particular book looks at Maria’s relationship with Aristotle Onassis, from their first meeting to when he marries a widowed Jackie Kennedy. For Maria, this is the first time something (or someone) has mattered more to her than her art. It’s a gripping story, and because we know from the start that it doesn’t have a happy ending, there is a sense of looming dread across the whole book.

Maria is often profoundly unlikeable, but you can’t help but love her. She is dramatic but also earnest, sometimes callous and not particularly self-aware, but with a more than admirable passion for her art. I found the scene when she hears of Marilyn Monroe’s death not just moving but also an insight into her tender side, as she mourns not just the woman but also the potential of a true friend and kindred spirit.

As readers, we get an insight into Onassis’ true colours before Maria does, and yet we can still see what Maria sees in him. Even as she slowly realises more about his true character, it is easy to understand her reasons for staying with him. The author gives us such a great insight into Maria’s emotions, no matter how contradictory they may be.

The book is excellently narrated by Lorelai King, who has mastered a huge range of accents and transports us to mid-20th Century high society. There’s also the lovely addition of some excerpts of Maria Callas herself singing between the sections (or “Acts”) of the book, which are a great finishing touch.

As much as this book will appeal to opera fans, I think it has a much farther reach than that, as its story is in equal parts unique and universal.

I received a free copy for an honest review.

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Although I started reading the physical copy of this book, I actually ended up listening to it so I could really soak up the atmosphere and I would recommend this to everyone, as it includes several bars of Maria singing, which really immerses you in Maria’s story, and perfectly sets the operatic scene.

Maria was quite a character; from a time when diva meant goddess, there’s no doubt that she lived up to her nickname (in all senses of the word). Goodwin is an excellent writer, managing to create a story that blends fact with fiction, whilst also weaving Maria’s stage presence with her real persona, ensuring that we get a balanced view of who she really was as well as the realities of a stage career. We see the glamorous parties, full of famous names dripping with diamonds, but we also see the love, passion and heartache she faces in her personal life.

Even though she’s not particular likeable, you cannot help sympathising with Maria, especially her journey to get there, considering her childhood and all of the men who tried to control her.

Each time she brushes shoulders with a well-known face, I found myself desperate to find out more about that person during that time; my American history is lacking so I had no idea Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, so that was a shocking reveal that sent me straight to Google!

Although I liked where the story ends, it did feel a bit of a comedown and perhaps a little further on would have helped readers understand her a bit more, particularly the impact of her voice loss.

A stunning fictionalised account of Maria Callas that will delight opera aficionados and novices alike.

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What is not to love about this book? The narrator had an amazing array of voices for the different characters which really helped this story leap ff the pages for me.

I knew nothing about Maria Callas - or opera for that matter - beyond the obvious so this novel was a revelation. I was totally hooked from the very start. The timeline jumps around a little, which I found a little disconcerting, and as I was listening to the book, it meant it was not easy to go back and check whether we have gone back in time if I had missed a chapter introduction.

Since reading this, I have read up on Callas, and think that Goodwin was, perhaps, a little too kind in some of Callas' interactions with people. But, honestly, I would not have it any other way - the book tells you from the start that there will be some poetic licence and I really felt like got to know a version of Callas who the world exploited at many points in her life.

Glorious retell of a life with fabulous detail - especially the outfits and jewellery. I am hungry for more books about Callas and her interesting life now!

I am not sure if I missed it (being as I heard this story) but the baby she almost had with Onassis did not seem to be fully explained. Her relationship breakdowns with her first husband, Elsa Maxwell, and then Onassis' betrayal also seemed to have had a light touch... I wanted more - but maybe I am being greedy?

Fabulous read. Get the audio book - there is a really interesting interview with the author at the end which is not to be missed.

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This memoir intricately explores the profound impact of historical events, notably the overshadowing of the operatic diva Maria Callas by Jackie Kennedy during the 20th Century.

The narrative provides a captivating glimpse into the jet-set lifestyle of a bygone era, skillfully depicting the complexities of love and sacrifice. Whether experienced through audiobook or ebook, both mediums showcase the well-written reflection of a time where women often relinquished independence for love.

This fictional account artfully captures the essence of Maria's life and loves, portraying a lively and accurate portrayal of the lady and those in her orbit.

The narration, delivered with superb finesse, paints Maria as a conflicted character who both craved and feared the spotlight, navigating a life marked by being used and abused by those around her.

A compelling exploration of history from multiple perspectives, earning it a commendable 4-star rating from me!

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I'd heard good things about this book, and was keen to add this to my reads list. So when the opportunity to listen to this on audiobook arose I jumped at it.

Firstly, the audiobook itself. The narration of this was brilliant. I enjoyed the way the narrators portrayed the characters and the pieces of music interwoven throughout. It provided the chance to hear Maria's voice, something I hadn't heard before, and added great depth to the story.

This is definitely a good one to listen to as well as read.

Now the story itself, This is a fictional retelling of the tragic life of Maria Callas, deemed one of the greatest opera singers ever. I say tragic because so much is layered into this story from her childhood, relationships and her love life.

It was interesting to find out so much about the events that shaped Maria's life. Her relationship with her mother who seemed to have tried to live her dreams through Maria and was extremely forceful in getting Maria to sing from a very young age professionally.

Her estrangement from her sister who she was jealous of for having her mothers love, and her marriage where it again seemed her husband was more interested in her voice and the money it could make them, rather than Maria's health and happiness at times.

And finally her relationship with Onassis. And wow listening to this part it was hard not to be angry. Honestly what a narcistic, controlling, manipulative man! I felt great pity and sadness for Maria throughout their relationship and the loneliness of her life.

There is a really interesting author discussion at the end that shows her love of Maria, her voice and thoughts on many aspects of this book.

Overall this was an intriguing account and retelling. A good book to step out of your comfort zone to read.

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🎧Audio Book Review🎧


Diva
Daisy Goodwin

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Music has been my life - but in all the years that I've played music myself, been to many concerts and shows, I've never been to an opera!
This book has inspired me and made me more determined to attend at least one in my life - and given that my daughter recently moved to Milan, how wonderful it would be to attend one at the La Scala.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book but I was absolutely hooked, fascinated and mesmerised by all that it held.

Recounting the life of Maria Callas - American born, Greek Diva, fashion icon, Goddess and opera soprano extraordinaire - there was just so much within this story that I just couldn't put it down!

I obviously loved all of the musical detail in here.
I know of a lot of the opera names and even some of the music within them due to having played the orchestral or band arrangements - especially overtures - but hearing about their meaning was brilliant.
I loved to hear about the fusion of the acting with the singing that goes into creating such a stunning performance of that character on stage - but also seeing lots of the behind the scenes life of such a dedicated musician.

Alongside this, we're also treated to much of the star's personal and love life starting with her marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini and moving through her love affair with Aristotle Onassis.
This read somewhat as a romance novel, but there was so much more to it too!

I have to admit to falling a little in love with Maria's story and the emotions created throughout had me completely captivated.
I loved her on stage persona - the public facing off stage persona and the beautiful real woman behind that mask!
It was fascinating to see how she coped with the pressures she was under and quite scary to see how the public view turned so easily.

I listened to this on audio book and thought the narration was perfect!
The added touches of the musical interludes were absolutely gorgeous too!

Totally inspiring - I absolutely must grab a copy of this book so that I can relive it's beauty!



💕Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my ARC copy - this is my honest review 💕

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Hop into the pages of this story and let it transport you to the glittering world of the diva Maris Callas.

I'd heard of Maria Callas prior to reading this but, beyond being an opera singer, I knew nothing of her life (I thought she was the one who sang Barcelona with Freddie Mercury if im honest 😂) and my only knowledge of opera is my love of the soundtrack to Helena Bonhem Carter version of Room with a View(my absolute all time fave film)..

Her life was certainly fascinating, growing up with a pushy and vile mother, Maria did not have it easy. She became a strong woman who fought for her place in the hall of fame in this world. Her voice was the ultimate power house.

The story is monopolised by her relationship with Aristotle Onassis (I had no idea they dated!) and with the latter comes the hierarchy of 1950s big names.... I loved all the name dropping... From Winston Churchil and Bridget Bardot to Marlene Dietrich and Truman Capote.... So many stunning settings are featured too.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this one, with the audiobook not only are there clips of Maria singing in between sections but also there's a great interview with the author at the end. She said diva meant divine one, and she wanted that title to be given back it's original meaning rather than what it means today (ie jlo wanting bowls of Smarties with all the brown 🟤 ones removed)...

The writing style wasn't as stimulating as other books I've read recently however it was fascinating to read about a huge star who I knew so little about.... For example I had no idea she sang for JFK on the same night as Marilyn Monroes famous Happy Birthday 🎂 moment! Or that she was dumped by Onassis for Jackie Kennedy.

I can't actually claim to like Maria Callas very much after reading this but her story was very a fascinating one.

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Interesting biography, pleasant narration.
I knew bits and pieces about Maria Callas, but this offered more.
Me gusta.

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This glorious book starts at the end so to speak as it describes her powerful performance on 20th October 1968 in Paris when she had just found out her previous lover of 9 years, Arisotle Onassis had just married his new love interest, Jackie Kennedy, leaving Maria heartbroken.

Although this is a fictional retelling of Maria Callas, the depth of facts are very apparent and it is clear that Daisy has done extensive research into her life. Daisy's passion for Maria Callas is obvious and it oozes between the pages and transports you, the reader, back so it feels like you are watching the scenes play out in real life. Aside from the fact I love how Daisy has captured so much character for Callas, not just the famous opera singer the world would see portrayed by the media but that of the girl she was at heart which made it very personal and real - her issues regarding her weight and subsequent weight loss and how that accelerated her career, the influence of her parents from a young age in relation to her as a person and her signing career and also how she laid bare her heart to her husbands and lovers, and how she would go above and beyond to please them which would usually be detrimental to her personally. And yet despite all her heartbreak she realised that opera was her true love and after the departure of Onassis, it was the love of her maid and friend Bruna that helped Callas find herself again within opera.
I had such a wonderful time reading and learning so much about Maria Callas. I am in awe of her, and I won't do her the injustice of feeling sorry for her, just that throughout all her hardship she preserved until she got what she wanted and was the epitome of a strong, independent woman.
A wonderful read, beautifully written. I would love there to be a follow up book to continue Maria's story until her unexpected death in 1977 of a heart attack 💔

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I went into this book blind because I didn't know anything about Maria Callas.

I did enjoy it considering the time it was set in so it was fun to listen about her and especially the well known people she interacted with and the various dynamics she had with them.

I was surprised by how much I loved the audiobook. It made the experience of the plot so much better.

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This book is a fictionalised account of the life of Maria Callas, paying particular attention to her love affair with Aristotle Onassis, the man who went on to marry Jackie Kennedy.

I knew very little about Maria Callas before I started listening to this book but I found Daisy Goodwin’s account fascinating. I really enjoy fiction which is based on real life people and events and I love a story about the troubled life of an icon, so this ticked all the boxes for me!

The audiobook was really well done, easy to follow and I felt the narrator captured the characters perfectly in her delivery. I particularly liked the portrayal of Elsa Maxwell, a gossip columnist who latched herself on to Maria. After I had finished the book I found myself researching the real Elsa to fully appreciate Daisy Goodwin’s presentation of her.

The audiobook also contains excerpts of Maria’s performances which I thought was a brilliant addition and there’s an interview with the author at the end in which she discusses her inspirations for the book, which I always love to hear.

The settings are expertly described, I was able to fully visualise the opulent and luxurious world which Onassis introduces Maria to and the list of celebrities, film stars and royalty who they socialised with, made it all the more fabulous.

Maria Callas is presented as a woman who fought hard for her success and never took her talent for granted but also knew her worth. She was exploited by those close to her and when she did finally meet someone who could see the woman behind the voice, she was left broken hearted.

I thought it was fantastic and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

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I knew nothing of Maria Callas before listening to this novel, which gives us a possible version of her life and loves. She was loved and revealed for her voice and powerful presence. Yet she lacked the love of her mother and others. When she met and fell in love with Aristotle Onassis her life would change dramatically.

This is a well written and well narrated novel (I listened to the audiobook) with snippets of Maria singing. She had a hard start in life, a glittering career, love and sadness. She was so dedicated to her voice and image she deprived herself of what many of us could never do, such as tasty and indulgent foods. The novel gives us an image of the woman behind the Diva and personally inclines me to listen to some of her singing. Enjoy.

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Wow! Fantastic.
Until the last few years my preferred choice of reading was non-fiction. Over the last few years I have found more and more examples of excellent fiction and non-fiction.
Maria Callas was probably the best soprano that ever lived.
I had no idea about her life outside music.
I know that this is a work of non-fiction, but it is all believable, but I believe that it is mostly true, and maybe, just maybe, all true.
In any case it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
This is the best example of fiction based on real life that I have ever read by some margin.

The audio book added an extra layer to the enjoyment, with an excellent recounting and an excellent production , with musical bonuses above that in the printed book.
Thanks to the author for a wonderful book, I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This book focus of the life of a diva in the industry of songs and music i.e. opera. This lowkey reminded me of The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo but the only difference is that the protagonist is focused on finding her true love who will look at the woman not at the diva known to the world.
The audiobook format was a total bliss due to its melodious sound effects for the background of opera in the book, I love this part of the book. The protagonist was marvelous and even the side characters too.

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Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus Audiobooks, it was such a treat!

When thinking about opera, is there anyone more famous, more magnificent than Maria Callas that comes to mind?

Personally I can’t conjure up anyone that was such a legend! And yet I found myself realising that I knew very little of Maria Callas as a person, as a woman.

Thanks to Daisy Goodwin’s gorgeous prose I was able to dive into La Divina’s psyche, what was driving her, her flaws, her extraordinary force.

She was a fierce and powerful woman, a pioneer who merged her personal experience with her work, bringing to life her characters by drawing from her own feelings, transcending her voice and body, translating her profound quest for love into her performances. A true inspiration !

“Great Art is domination. It’s making people believe for that precise moment in time there’s only one way, one voice, mine.”

The writing is exquisite, you can hear the words sing, the notes in each phrase, and in the audio version there are also pieces sang by Callas herself which makes the experience all the more immersive!

The narrator is fabulous and brings a lot to the story, I personally think this was perfection as an audiobook, the best way to travel back in time and meet the greatest opera singer of all times.

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Synopsis
In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she's the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself.

When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she's found a man who sees the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Onassis introduces her to a life of unbelievable luxury, mixing with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then, suddenly, it's over. The international press announce that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice.

My thoughts…
Diva unravels the life of Maria Callas and her relationship with her husband, Onassis and her musical career.
Maria is a strong woman but meeting Onassis she falls under his spell as he ‘abuses’ her and dictates what he wants of her.
Not only Onassis , but her husband and even Elsa Maxwell have a sharpness to their tongue and their relationship with Maria.
The novel follows her love affair with Onassis until he eventually marries Jackie Kennedy .
Maria a successful soprano whom people loved , Maria loved her performances and singing and she loved it . A woman of charisma , intelligence and charm it was an interesting novel set in the 60’s and followed Maria’s life during this period. I knew of Maria Callas but not a great deal so the book and some googling filled in some gaps and the music

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Audio Book Review (gifted): ‘Diva’ is a novel about music, love, desire, and betrayal in the life of Maria Callas, the legendary mid-20th-century soprano. At the height of her reputation, Maria meets Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and falls in love for the first time. What follows is a plot worthy of an opera, with conflicting passions, jealousy, and self-sacrifice.

I’m a huge fan of biographical fiction as a way to bring stories to life and make them memorable by focusing on emotional impact rather than chronicling events, so I requested to review this though I’m woefully un-musical and knew very little about Maria Callas (and the 20th century is not where I usually hang out).

Daisy Goodwin has created a super-slick dramatisation of Callas’s biography. It’s not as emotionally immersive as some fictionalised biographies, rather it feels like a beautifully glossy modern epic: the descriptions of couture clothing, yachts, penthouses, and parties are so glamorous I felt at times I was flicking through Vogue or Hello!, but there are also bass notes of far older Greek epics.

I was particularly impressed by the way the physicality of singing and Callas’s monumental discipline and dedication comes across. It’s given me even more respect for those who make music look so effortless. This physicality really sharpens the conflict between Maria’s love for her art and her desire for Onassis.

If anyone needs me for the next few days, I’ll be listening to the playlist that accompanies the book, and applying sweeping 1960s eye-liner. And actually writing an essay.

‘Diva’ is published today (14 March).

Thanks to @Netgalley and @headofzeus for the audio-ARC.

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A wonderful audiobook narrated by Lorelai King, who has a wide range of accents and takes us to mid-20th Century high society with aplomb. Maria Callas was a famous operatic name I discovered at the Victoria and Albert's DIVA exhibition. Callas' life off stage was as dramatic as her life on stage. This was a wonderful audio book which superbly recreates a wonderful atmosphere with included excerpts of Maria Callas singing as "acts"!

This fictional memoir of Maria Callas wonderfully transports you to the awe and glamour of Golden Hollywood era of the 1960s. Goodwin describes the possessive controlling quality of Hollywood men of the time and makes you sympathise with Callas' plight to be recognised as an operatic diva but at the cost of having a successful private life. Callas' life resembles a Greek tragedy and is as captivating as any opera.

This audiobook was surprisingly detailed, and I completed it in 3 days. I would recommend it for fans of the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

✨Diva✨ is out in the UK on 14th March 2024! Thank you, Head of Zeus, Aria + NetGalley for the chance to listen and review this audiobook before it publishes #Diva #NetGalley

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A novel about Maria Callas.
Loved it.
I knew Maria was an opera singer but I didn’t know anything else about her background or her life - totally fascinating.
Well read, I was drawn in right from the start. Easy listening, and I loved the snippets of Maria singing opera at the start of some acts and chapters. I had no idea of the people she met or interacted with.
I’m off to listen to some opera!

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