83 Facts About Maria Callas


Maria Callas's repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and, further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner.


Maria Callas notably underwent a mid-career weight loss, which might have contributed to her vocal decline and the premature end of her career.


Maria Callas's father had shortened the surname Kalogeropoulos, first to "Kalos" and subsequently to "Maria Callas" to make it more manageable.


George and Litsa Maria Callas were an ill-matched couple from the beginning.


Maria Callas was christened three years later at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in 1926.


When Maria was 4, George Callas opened his own pharmacy, settling the family in Manhattan on 192nd Street in Washington Heights, where Callas grew up.


In public, Maria Callas recalls the strained relationship with Litsa on her unhappy childhood spent singing and working at her mother's insistence, saying,.


Simionato was convinced that Maria Callas "managed to remain untouched", but never forgave her mother for what she perceived as a kind of prostitution forced on her.


However, when interviewed by Pierre Desgraupes on the French program L'invitee du dimanche, Maria Callas attributed the development of her chest voice not to Trivella, but to her next teacher, the Spanish coloratura soprano Elvira de Hidalgo.


Maria Callas studied with Trivella for two years before her mother secured another audition at the Athens Conservatoire with de Hidalgo.


Maria Callas auditioned with "Ocean, Thou Mighty Monster" from Weber's Oberon.


Maria Callas agreed to take her as a pupil immediately, but Callas's mother asked de Hidalgo to wait for a year, as Callas would be graduating from the National Conservatoire and could begin working.


Maria Callas would listen to all my students, sopranos, mezzos, tenors.


De Hidalgo was instrumental in securing roles for her, allowing Maria Callas to earn a small salary, which helped her and her family get through the difficult war years.


Maria Callas made her professional debut in February 1941, in the small role of Beatrice in Franz von Suppe's Boccaccio.


Maria Callas proceeded to give a series of concerts around Greece, and then, against her teacher's advice, she returned to America to see her father and to further pursue her career.


When she left Greece on September 14,1945, two months short of her 22nd birthday, Maria Callas had given 56 performances in seven operas and had appeared in around 20 recitals.


Maria Callas maintained that the Metropolitan Opera offered her Madama Butterfly and Fidelio, to be performed in Philadelphia and sung in English, both of which she declined, feeling she was too fat for Butterfly and did not like the idea of opera in English.


In 1946, Maria Callas was engaged to re-open the opera house in Chicago as Turandot, but the company folded before opening.


Maria Callas taught me the depth of music, the justification of music.


The great turning point in Maria Callas's career occurred in Venice in 1949.


Maria Callas was engaged to sing the role of Brunnhilde in Die Walkure at the Teatro la Fenice, when Margherita Carosio, who was engaged to sing Elvira in I puritani in the same theatre, fell ill.


Maria Callas's interpretation has a humanity, warmth and expressiveness that one would search for in vain in the fragile, pellucid coldness of other Elviras.


Maria Callas opened a new door for us, for all the singers in the world, a door that had been closed.


Maria Callas has given us the chance, those who follow her, to do things that were hardly possible before her.


That I am compared with Maria Callas is something I never dared to dream.


Menotti recalls that Ghiringhelli had promised him any singer he wanted for the premiere of The Consul, but when he suggested Maria Callas, Ghiringhelli said that he would never have Maria Callas at La Scala except as a guest artist.


However, as Maria Callas's fame grew, and especially after her great success in I vespri siciliani in Florence, Ghiringhelli had to relent: Maria Callas made her official debut at La Scala in Verdi's I vespri siciliani on opening night in December 1951, and this theatre became her artistic home throughout the 1950s.


Maria Callas was notably instrumental in arranging Franco Corelli's debut at La Scala in 1954, where he sang Licinio in Spontini's La vestale opposite Maria Callas's Julia.


Maria Callas made her South American debut in Buenos Aires on May 20,1949, during the European summer opera recess.


Maria Callas accepted and sang the role in a January 1959 performance that according to opera critic Allan Kozinn "quickly became legendary in operatic circles".


Bing and Maria Callas later reconciled their differences, and she returned to the Met in 1965 to sing the title role in two performances as Tosca opposite Franco Corelli as Cavaradossi for one performance and Richard Tucker with Tito Gobbi as Scarpia for her final performances at the Met.


Maria Callas stated that she lost the weight by eating a sensible low-calorie diet of mainly salads and chicken.


Maria Callas never regained the weight she lost and kept her slim figure until her death.


Maria Callas's voice was and remains controversial; it bothered and disturbed as many as it thrilled and inspired.


Walter Legge stated that Maria Callas possessed that most essential ingredient for a great singer: an instantly recognizable voice.


Carlo Maria Giulini has described the appeal of Callas's voice:.


Maria Callas's voice has been difficult to place in the modern vocal classification or Fach system, especially since in her prime, her repertoire contained the heaviest dramatic soprano roles as well as roles usually undertaken by the highest, lightest and most agile coloratura sopranos.


Maria Callas herself appears to have been in agreement not only with Ardoin's assertions that she started as a natural mezzo-soprano, but saw the similarities between herself and Pasta and Malibran.


Maria Callas always trained me to keep my voice limber.


Whether or not Maria Callas ever sang a high F-natural in performance has been open to debate.


Maria Callas's voice was noted for its three distinct registers: Her low or chest register was extremely dark and powerful, and she used this part of her voice for dramatic effect, often going into this register much higher on the scale than most sopranos.


Maria Callas articulates all of the trills, and she binds them into the line more expressively than anyone else; they are not an ornament but a form of intensification.


Maria Callas is not creating "effects", as even her greatest rivals do.


Maria Callas sees the aria as a whole, "as if in an aerial view", as Sviatoslav Richter's teacher observed of his most famous pupil; simultaneously, she is on earth, standing in the courtyard of the palace of Aliaferia, floating her voice to the tower where her lover lies imprisoned.


Maria Callas was eminently capable of the grand gesture; still, judging strictly from the evidence of her recordings, we know that her power flowed not from excess but from unbroken concentration, unfaltering truth in the moment.


Maria Callas was wasted in verismo roles, even Tosca, no matter how brilliantly she could act such roles.


Maria Callas didn't know what he was singing, but she knew.


Maria Callas herself stated that, in opera, acting must be based on the music, quoting Serafin's advice to her:.


Maria Callas was not just a singer, but a complete artist.


In 1951, Tebaldi and Maria Callas were jointly booked for a vocal recital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Tebaldi was trained by Carmen Melis, a noted verismo specialist, and she was rooted in the early 20th century Italian school of singing just as firmly as Maria Callas was rooted in 19th century bel canto.


Maria Callas was a dramatic soprano, whereas Tebaldi considered herself essentially a lyric soprano.


The alleged rivalry aside, Maria Callas made remarks appreciative of Tebaldi, and vice versa.


Maria Callas visited Tebaldi after a performance of Adriana Lecouvreur at the Met in 1968, and the two were reunited.


Maria Callas was at the top of a career that a human being could desire, and she felt enormous responsibility.


Maria Callas herself attributed her problems to a loss of confidence brought about by a loss of breath support, even though she does not make the connection between her weight and her breath support.


Fussi observed video recordings in which Maria Callas's posture seemed strained and weakened.


Maria Callas felt that her drastic weight loss in 1954 further contributed to reduced physical support of her voice.


Maria Callas really did have the bronchitis and tracheitis she claimed, and the dermatomyositis was already causing her muscles to deteriorate.


The latter half of Maria Callas's career was marked by a number of scandals.


Maria Callas was photographed with her mouth turned in a furious snarl.


In 1957, Maria Callas was starring as Amina in La sonnambula at the Edinburgh International Festival with the forces of La Scala.


Maria Callas's contract was for four performances, but due to the great success of the series, La Scala decided to put on a fifth performance.


Maria Callas told the La Scala officials that she was physically exhausted and that she had already committed to a previous engagement, a party thrown for her by her friend Elsa Maxwell in Venice.


La Scala officials did not defend Maria Callas or inform the press that the additional performance was not approved by Maria Callas.


In January 1958, Maria Callas was to open the Rome Opera House season with Norma, with Italy's president, Giovanni Gronchi, in attendance.


The day before the opening night, Maria Callas alerted the management that she was not well and that they should have a standby ready.


Maria Callas was accused of walking out on the president of Italy in a fit of temperament, and pandemonium broke out.


Doctors confirmed that Maria Callas had bronchitis and tracheitis, and the President's wife called to tell her they knew she was sick.


Maria Callas was scheduled to perform in Verdi's La traviata and in Macbeth, two very different operas which almost require totally different singers.


Headlines of "Bing Fires Maria Callas" appeared in newspapers around the world.


Maria Callas knew exactly what she wanted, and why she wanted it.


From October 1971 to March 1972, Maria Callas gave a series of master classes at the Juilliard School in New York.


Maria Callas staged a series of joint recitals in Europe in 1973 and in the US, South Korea, and Japan in 1974 with the tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano.


In 1957, while still married to husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, Maria Callas was introduced to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis at a party given in her honor by Elsa Maxwell after a performance in Donizetti's Anna Bolena.


The affair that followed received much publicity in the popular press, and in November 1959, Maria Callas left her husband.


Michael Scott asserts that Onassis was not sure why Maria Callas largely abandoned her career, but that he offered her a way out of a career that was made increasingly difficult by scandals and by vocal resources that were diminishing at an alarming rate.


Still other sources claim that Maria Callas had at least one abortion while involved with Onassis.


In 1966, Maria Callas renounced her US citizenship at the American Embassy in Paris, to facilitate the end of her marriage to Meneghini.


Maria Callas spent her last years living largely in isolation in Paris and died of a heart attack at age 53 on September 16,1977.


Maria Callas was later cremated at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery and her ashes were placed in the columbarium there.


Maria Callas knew she had a tremendous effect on audiences and on people.