“Goodbye” Maria Callas Died 16 September 1977
Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977) was an American born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. Her appearances ranged from the classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of the likes of Bellini and Rossini. In her early career, also the musical dramas of Wagner. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Born in New York City, she received her musical education in Greece and started her career in Italy. She had to deal with wartime poverty and the medical condition myopia, that left her nearly blind onstage. After a mid career weight loss, she turned from overweight to a thin glamorous star.
Callas was renowned for her allegedly temperamental behaviour, her supposed rivalry with Renata Tebaldi and her love affair with Aristotle Onassis. These publicised events have sometimes overshadowed her reputation as a world class singer.
Leonard Bernstein called her “The Bible of opera” and in 2006, Opera News wrote of her: “Nearly thirty years after her death, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist—and still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists.”