A look at opera singers old and new, from Callas to Kaufmann, with more than a side glance at Shostakovich and Salieri.

The July issue of Limelight hits the newsstands today and is, as usual, available from our online store with free postage!

Maria Callas's status as cultural icon endures 90 years after her birth. But how was the legend of La Divina born? The artist and woman epitomised in her short life (1923-1977) and performing career (1941-74, with significant gaps), the talents, the lifestyle and the crises of the modern prima donna – someone who appeared to go through life as if she was one of the tragic heroines she portrayed.

She was not over-fond of the role of Tosca in Puccini's opera – even if it became one of her regular calling cards. Yet in both a life and career full of apparent contradictions, she appeared to try to live  to the full the words of that opera's Act II aria Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore: "I lived for my art, I lived for love". Our in-depth profile examines the contradictions.

ALSO IN THE MAGAZINE

Jonas Kaufmann

The world's most in-demand Heldentenor talks about the operatic roles he's yet to conquer – and the Gummi Bears that will help him get there.

Secret Life of Strings

The Brodsky Quartet talks about how Shostakovich's 15 string quartets became the truest testimony of his innermost thoughts.

The Top Ten Silliest Operas…that you really need to hear

The artform has been much maligned over the years for its far-fetched stories, but beneath some of the most nonsensical plots lurks buried treasure.

A Long Way to the Top

One of the world's highest male voices hails from down-under. We talk to David Hansen about vanquishing his rivals.

Bright Young Sings

There's a new generation of singers flying the Australian flag around the world. We talk to nine of the best and brightest.

Composer of the Month: Antonio Salieri

A look beyond the myths of Mozarticide to discover a badly maligned operatic master once hailed the worthy heir of Gluck.

Musical Journey: Vienna

Life's a ball in Austria's musical Mecca. We waltz the composer trail leaving a trail of strudel crumbs in our wake.

Reviews

A whopping 24 pages of classical CD, DVD, book and live concert reviews, including the first period instrument recording of Bellini's Norma from Cecilia Bartoli; Julia Fischer's thoroughbred take on two of music's sturdiest warhorses; The Brodsky Quartet go on holiday with music from sunny climes; the debut album from Conrad Tao, a pianist and composer who makes you sit up and take notice; Sir Antonio Pappano revels in Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle and Aleksandra Kurzak comes out of a disc of thorny coloratura smelling like a rose.

The Limelight Classical Chart

Exclusive to Limelight, this chart ranks the top 20 best-selling classical CDs and DVDs according to monthly sales figures drawn from Australia's leading classical specialist stores. Unlike other charts, Limelight's specially assembled list admits only pure classical releases – it's not diluted with crossover.

ABC Highlights

The only magazine to feature highlights and recommendations for ABC Classic FM, Radio National and ABC TV.