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The Maria Callas Story

A “Divine” exhibition in Verona: “Love is much better when you are not married”...

Anna Maria Cecilia Sophia Kalogeropoulou, Greek from New York, born 1923. Should be named Vasili, like her little brother who died of typhus before he was born. The Evangelical mother accepted the birth of a daughter just days after his birth.


Determined to lose weight (at 29 years old she came to weigh 92 kg at 172 cm), she is said to have voluntarily ingested a tapeworm, drinking it in a chilled champagne glass. At 32, she had reached 54 kg.


Passionate, she was tied to the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis. Out to dinner one evening, the businessman answered a question about his new hat: “Harmony, treasure, harmony… Or you get a bigger hat, or you cut off a piece of your nose.”


Dubbed the “Divine” for her presence on stage and for the ease in which she passed from a classical soprano repertoire to one of colour. Critic Andre Tebeuf: “Unlike other very respectable singers who sang on the one hand and recited on the other, her singing and acting were totally integrated.”

At the height of her career she was part of the international jet set, who doted upon her. She came to cancel her performance of La Sonnambula at the Edinburgh Festival, just to attend a reception in her honour organized in Venice by her friend and admirer Elsa Maxwell.

The relationship with Onassis never led to marriage. But the Callas became pregnant in 1959, giving birth to a baby in April ’60, Homer, who died shortly after birth.

It was very short-sighted, to the point that she mistook a clump of radishes for a bouquet of roses that a detractor, a fan of Tebaldi, had thrown during the filming of La Traviata.

Callas was responsible for the rediscovery of a large part of the Italian operatic repertoire of the early nineteenth century, especially Bellini and Donizetti. Her vocal abilities allowed her to branch out from the classic repertoire for lack of adequate interpreters (memorable are Verdi’s Macbeth and Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia).

Maria Callas. The Exhibition (INFO here), the exhibition is located at Arena Museo Opera di Verona. The first to be dedicated to the Divine, it began in Verona in 1947 with the Gioconda di Ponchielli. After Verona, the exhibition will move to Paris, New York, Athens, and Mexico City.

Federico Flamminio

Fonte: Lucrezia Dell’Arti, cinquantamila.it.