Warners’ wiz kids subject La Divina to the freezing water treatment.

The extraordinarily successful charity fundraising stunt, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has now spread to include those no longer with us. Some bright sparks at Warners have uploaded a video on YouTube in which the late, great Maria Callas is subjected to a stream of frozen water whilst singing Vissi d’Arte.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was devised to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and to encourage donations to support research in the study of its causes, prevention, and treatment. The way it works is that you make a donation to the cause and then take a video of yourself having a bucket of freezing water poured over your head. You then nominate a ‘friend’ to take the challenge next. Callas, by the way, cleverly nominates her arch-rival Renata Tebaldi at the end of the clip.

What began as a bit of a celebrity stunt, has now spread to ordinary people (I watched my sister getting doused only this morning), and classical musicians are not far behind. Last week Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonzo took the Challenge. He then nominated fellow Spaniard Plácido Domingo who manfully accepted and the YouTube video was uploaded. Domingo in turn extended the challenges to both his Salzburg Festival co-star Anna Netrebko and pianist Lang Lang.

Other opera singers such as Deborah Voigt have uploaded videos to their Facebook pages, but perhaps my favourite Challenge to date is the suave offering from actor Patrick Stewart who writes out his cheque before pouring himself a satisfying scotch on the rocks.

To get involved in the Ice Bucket Challenge in Australia, click here.


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