Maria Callas, a musical genius, a tragic heroine and an opera legend


11/30/2023 at 08:25


With her was born the phenomenon of the ‘paparazzi’, who followed her wherever she went airing her disputes with the directors of the most famous theaters.

In his pursuit of perfection lies his legacy and his tragedy. His incomparable voice remains mythical, an example for several generations. that a singer of Opera being remembered in the media around the world on the centenary of her birth and that she continues to reign in the hearts (and on the record shelves) of music lovers consolidates her myth.

Maria Callas (1923-1977), also known as ‘La Divina’, He revolutionized the world of opera even though he had a short career, which barely exceeded two decades; He imposed a way of singing that transformed the lyrical scene by uniting text, music and performance like no one else had done. But his figure transcended the world of opera, since his professional and sentimental problems They began to interest the general press – she was also in charge of calling them when it suited her –, hogging the covers with their life of luxury and glamour.

With her the ‘paparazzi’ phenomenon was born, who pursued her wherever she went, airing her disputes with the directors of the most famous theaters, but also her private life, her divorce, her courtship with the Greek billionaire Aristoteles Onassis and the parties they attended – who abandoned her to marry Jackie Kennedy–, his decline in the world of opera, his frustrated return, his failure in the world of cinema and even his retirement in his luxurious Parisian apartment where he He died prematurely at the age of 53.

Callas was born Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulos in New York on December 2, 1923.

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With her career, Callas drew an authentic tragic figure, inspiring novels, works of theaterbooks, unauthorized biographies (which are peppered with two abortions, drug and alcohol consumption) and several films, the last of them, Maria, today in the middle of filming starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Chilean Pablo Larraín. In October, the city of Athens inaugurated a Museum in his honor after two decades of postponements, a city that has also named the theater in which he debuted after him.

Callas was born Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulos in New York on December 2, 1923, daughter of a family of Greek origin, although at the age of 13, after her parents broke up, she returned to her mother – her worst enemy, who never showed him appreciation – to Greece, where he grew up in misery, trained with the Spanish Elvira de Hidalgo and made his debut at the Athens National Opera in 1941. With his art he reached heights never before achieved in the modern era by soaking his characters with an unprecedented dramatic sense.

Angelina Jolie characterized as Callas in the filming of Pablo Larraín’s next film.

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Diva of divas, she rose from opera to universal popularity for a private life that was commented on almost weekly; Her divorce from her first manager, the industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini – almost 30 years her senior – spilled as much ink as her scandals in theaters or as when she decided to lose 40 kilos to look more attractive, obsessed by image. Callas, the character, more than ate Callas the woman, ending her days isolated after leaving a legacy that is reflected in a discography as extensive as it is referential and that now, in its centenary, is renewed in relevance and that reviews the 74 characters that came to interpret.

Adored, idolized and owner of a very wide repertoire, the legend of Callas was consolidated when the theater, opera and theater director crossed paths in her life. cinema Luchino Visconti, who made him understand the importance of seeking the truth of the character. And so he did it. Her favorite role was Norma., which led to its maximum expression; She is responsible for the revival of many other forgotten bel canto operas, such as The Sonnambulawhich premiered in 1955 at La Scala in Milan directed by Leonard Bernstein and Visconti. The rehearsals were exhaustive and Callas, also famous for her impulsive temperament, suffered more than one attack of jealousy when she saw the complicity between both directors, but in the end a miracle was created and her performance became legendary.

With Aristotle Onassis, who broke her heart.

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Sometimes ‘La Divina’ behaved like a spoiled girl, but in front of Visconti – and alongside the most important musical directors of her time – she transformed into a the best student. She was obsessive about her characters, she controlled them down to the last note, worried about the sound and the gesture. In that Sonnambula Callas argued with Visconti only on one occasion, when he insisted that she wear her best jewelry to represent the protagonist. “But Luchino,” Callas said, “I’m supposed to be a villager.” “No,” Visconti answered, “you are Maria Callas representing a villager.”

He considered that Norma was a very close character to him, “she may be the closest thing to my own character,” he stated in 1961, when The divine It was already absorbed by Onassis, before his retirement from the stage. She wanted to start a family, but His rich friend preferred the prestige of the widow Kennedy, breaking Callas’s heart. Her voice no longer responded to her and Medea That Pasolini convinced her to film in an attempt to make a career as an actress was a fiasco. Except for a master class or a sad farewell tour, she preferred to retire, distancing herself from everyone.

Callas, a genius of music, a monster of the stage, a tragic heroine and a legend of opera.