She is about to make her West End debut in Maria Callas: Letters and Memoirs at Her Majesty’s Theatre. She talks to Vogue about stardom, style, and how to stay young.
You can follow Monica Bellucci on Instagram, but you won’t see any selfies without makeup (like Gwyneth), workouts (Tracee), or spoof reels (Reese) on her feed. That gap between the public and people in show business no longer exists, says the former Bond girl, who, even though she says social media can help artists shape their own image, wants to keep her identity a secret.
Bellucci’s Instagram account isn’t like other celebrity accounts in 2022. Instead, it mostly has pictures from fashion shoots, or pictures of her on the red carpet in Venice or Cannes. This is the only thing we know about her personal life. Deva Cassel, the daughter of Monica Cassel, is sometimes featured in these posts. She is a little Monica who has become a model like her mother.
She started her own career in front of the camera when she was just a teenager. Bellucci did not have any concerns about her daughter working in a field that hasn’t always been known for being kind to young women. Bellucci says that all she can do is help Deva find what she wants to do. She points out that Deva is still in her last year of school and has only tried fashion for now. “But I like the idea that she’s happy! I like that.”
Neither of Bellucci’s two daughters with ex-husband Vincent Cassel (Léonie, 11, is the younger of the two), like fashion, she says. That’s not surprising, since Bellucci has been a style icon for a long time. If you want to see Monica in person, you can always find her on the front row at couture week. She is also very popular on the European film festival circuit and walked the runway for Dolce and Gabbana in 2018. In her words: “The way I dress is how I show myself.” The choices you make are what make fashion interesting.
This is what Monica Bellucci did: She made a movie about Maria Callas called Maria Callas: Letter and Memoirs, and it was about her. Maria Callas is a well-known singer.
I think it’s a match made in heaven: Monica Bellucci will be playing Maria Callas, who is also very beautiful. This is a case where one star pays tribute to another star.
There’s no doubt that Bellucci looks right at home in a classy black dress and with her hair pulled back in the same way that Callas did. Using the opera singer’s letters and unfinished stories, she does a one-of-a-kind, solo show. It’s filled with heartache. There may be a reason for this: Callas’s powerful voice and her melodramatic life may be to blame.
Bellucci’s voice is also a little off. A lot like Marilyn Monroe, she speaks with a wispy breathlessness. Her voice doesn’t always reach across the auditorium, which is a shame because Callas has so many different sounds in her voice.
Her feet are covered in rose petals during the show. During the show, she is sitting on a cream sofa with glowing projections of Callas’ writing on the screen behind her. Adding a white tie and a rose between his teeth will make it even more romantic.
It plays music when Bellucci stops talking. There is a gramophone next to the sofa that plays music when he stops talking. As heartwarming as it is, to hear the beautiful voice that Callas had in songs from Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, and Medea is very nice. There are times when the gramophone, which is sometimes lit up, almost takes over as the show’s louder, more expressive second person.
Some of the musical pieces don’t have their names, and the way the show is put together makes it hard to understand. On the back screen, it shows names and dates. Tom Volf is in charge of that (although from my seat in the stalls I could not see the full screen). Leonidas Lantzounis is the godfather of the little girl she was born to, and he lives in the same town as her. Grace Kelly and a lot of other singers and musicians have also been friends with her, as have a lot of people. Even if they aren’t well-known, we get their names. Both of us don’t know what some letters are for, and we don’t know why. They don’t know why she wrote to Pier Paolo Pasolini, but she tells him about something we can’t understand. As long as Elvira de Hidalgo lets her wear her jewelry on stage, she’ll be all right. If she wants to honor De Hidalgo or take her crown in a symbolic way, we don’t know yet. But she wants to do both!
It’s hard to figure out how to connect the dots in a story and separate the real story from the myths we make up about ourselves. It’s hard to tell if the show is for opera fans because there aren’t any simple signs to help them find their way (given its briefness). Only the most important things are talked about in an hour-long documentary about Maria Callas’s life. It only talks about how difficult her mother was, how her marriage didn’t work out, and how bad her voice was.
That’s not all we do. There are highs and lows to her story. Someone looks at her voice with wide-eyed wonder. Aristotle Onassis was her boyfriend for nine years. She wrote to him with a lot of love. He broke up with her and married Jackie Kennedy without telling her, so she didn’t know about it.
Women who have lived good lives say that we can only trust ourselves. Even though she wrote a lot of letters to her friends, she always felt like she was alone.