Maria Callas

Biography

Born: December 2, 1923   Died: September 16, 1977  
The fame and legacy of Maria Callas are nearly unsurpassed in the modern history of opera. Her fame has transcended the usual boundaries of classical music, and she has been the inspiration for several movies, an opera, and a successful Broadway musical. Her extensive catalogue of recordings remains among the most coveted and controversial for both her fans and detractors.

Though American by birth, Callas (born Maria Anne Sofia Cecilia
Read more Kalogeropoulos) was born of Greek parents, and at age 13 her mother took her back to Greece because of financial difficulties caused by the Great Depression. She studied voice at the Royal Academy of Music in Athens with Spanish coloratura soprano Elvira de Hildago and made rapid progress; she soon sang Santuzza in a student production of Cavalleria rusticana. Her professional debut came at age 16 in a minor role in Suppe's Bocaccio.

While still in Athens during World War II, Callas sang her first Tosca in 1942. In 1945, she returned to the United States and sang several auditions, but nothing came of her visit. Her first appearance in 1947 at Verona as La Gioconda brought her to the attention of Tullio Serafin; Serafin became her musical advisor for many years, acting as her coach and conductor of many of her performances.

The entire world of opera was stunned when, in 1949 -- while singing Brünnhilde in Die Walküre at Venice -- she agreed to sing Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani, alternating performances during the same week. That same year she traveled to Buenos Aires to sing Turandot and Norma. In 1950, she sang Aida at the Teatro alla Scala, but she did not become a regular member there until 1952. The summer of 1950 took her Mexico City where, in one month, she sang Norma, Aida, Tosca and Il trovatore. During these early years, Callas would sing nearly any role offered including Isolde, Leonore in La forza del destino, Constanza in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Elena in I vespri siciliani.

As she matured, Callas began to concentrate on a smaller core repertory, including Cherubini's Medea, Bellini's Norma, Puccini's Tosca, Bellini's La Sonnambula, and Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Most of her other roles were heard only in one series of performances. After 1959, she rarely appeared on the opera stage, but she did sing concerts in America and Europe. Her last opera performances were in June 1965, at Paris as Norma. She came out of retirement in 1973 to tour the world with Giuseppe di Stefano in a series of recitals. Although financially rewarding, the tour did nothing to enhance her reputation. In 1971, she gave a series of masterclasses at the Juilliard School of Music in New York which were quite successful. In 1977, she died of a sudden heart attack in her Paris apartment.

Maria Callas was one of the most controversial singers of the twentieth century. She had a wide range from high E to the F below the staff, and an innate feel for the style of bel canto roles, but she was most notable for bringing a commitment and intensity to her dramatic portrayals that was nearly unprecedented at the time. By 1957, her voice developed a wobble which grew worse in the following years. Always a perfectionist, she was very difficult to deal with from a management point of view: she was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in 1958 and she was estranged from Teatro alla Scala for several years. Her vocal decline coincided with the dissolution of her first marriage to Giovanni Meneghini and her affair with Aristotle Onassis. Read less
Browse 101-125 of 160 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Icon: Tito Gobbi - Complete Solo Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55378 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Luigi Denza,  Pietro Mascagni,  Renato Brogi,  Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari  ... 
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Gerald Moore,  Carlo Del Monte,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Gabriele Santini,  Lovro von Matacic,  Alceo Galliera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 102.
    Bellini: Il Pirata / Rescigno, Callas, Ferraro
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64938 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Glade Peterson,  Maria Callas,  Regina Sarfaty,  Costantino Ego  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Opera Society Chorus,  American Opera Society Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Bellini: Norma / Tullio Serafin, Maria Callas, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 66709 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Edda Vincenzi,  Piero de Palma,  Christa Ludwig,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Verdi: La Traviata / Callas, Di Stefano, Giulini
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 66858 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Ettore Bastianini,  Maria Callas,  Silvana Zanolli  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $27.99
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  • 105.
    Rossini: Barber Of Seville Highlights / Galliera, Callas
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63076 Release Date: 07/20/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Luigi Alva,  Tito Gobbi,  Maria Callas,  Nicola Zaccaria  ... 
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Festival Of The Primadonnas
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 8025 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Arrigo Boito,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Ljuba Welitsch,  Maria Callas,  Astrid Varnay  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Max Rudolf,  Hermann Weigert,  Wilhelm Schüchter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 107.
    Two Divas: Callas & Tebaldi - The Greatest Sopranos Of All Time
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10078 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Renata Tebaldi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra,  Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della RAI,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 108.
    Prima Voce - Giuseppe Di Stefano Sings Verdi & Puccini
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7957 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Maria Callas,  Melchiorre Luise,  Anna Maria Canali  ... 
    Conductor:  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Renato Cellini,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 109.
    The Record of Singing Vol 5 - From the LP to the Digital Era
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28949 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Luciana Serra,  Neil Shicoff,  Alain Vanzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Georges Prêtre,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 110.
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 164 Release Date: 11/25/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Jon [Tenor Vocals] Vickers,  Maria Callas,  Peter Binder,  Teresa Berganza  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
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  • 111.
    100 Best Puccini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 236677 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mario Sereni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Mirella Freni,  Mario Basiola II  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Georges Prêtre,  Gabriele Santini,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 112.
    Best Karajan 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15206 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Walton,  Dennis Brain,  Lothar Koch,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 113.
    Giacomo Puccini - The Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 15460 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Ida Farina,  Jeda Valtriani,  Angelo Mercuriali  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Gabriele Santini,  Lovro von Matacic  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 114.
    Maria Callas - The Complete Puccini Studio Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15894 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Renato Cioni,  Lucia Danieli,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Tullio Serafin,  Herbert von Karajan,  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 115.
    Bellini: The Complete Operas
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 552/1-25 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Gabriella Carturan,  Eugenia Ratti,  Cesare Valletti,  Giuseppe Modesti  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Richard Bonynge,  Fabio Luisi,  Paolo Arrivabeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Catania Teatro Massimo Bellini Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 116.
    Icon: Giuseppe Di Stefano - The Opera Singer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 06075 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ambroise Thomas,  Jules Massenet,  Francesco Cilèa,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Herbert Dawson,  Raffaele Arié,  Anna Maria Canali  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Tullio Serafin,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New London Light Opera Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 117.
    Cherubini: Medea / Serafin, Callas, Scotto, Picchi
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63625 Release Date: 06/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Maria Callas,  Lydia Marimpietri,  Mirto Picchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 118.
    40 Most Beautiful Arias - Pavarotti, Callas, Domingo, Terfel, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 447164 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Hei-Kyung Hong,  Jennifer Larmore,  Maria Callas,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Maurizio Barbacini,  Marcello Viotti,  Carlo Rizzi  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 119.
    Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Del Monaco, Callas
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 140 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Giuseppe Modesti,  Maria Callas,  Athos Cesarini,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
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  • 120.
    Birth Of A Diva - Legendary Early Recordings / Maria Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 327612 Release Date: 10/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Francesco Albanese,  Mariano Caruso,  Ines Marietti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Antonino Votto,  Arturo Basile
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Coro Cetra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 121.
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 132 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michele Novaro,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Nicola Monti,  Dino Mantovani  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
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  • 122.
    The One And Only - Opera Arias / Maria Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 96341 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Anna Maria Canali,  Jane Berbié,  Nadine Sautereau  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Tullio Serafin,  Franco Ghione  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 123.
    Prima Diva
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55095 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Ola Samnegård,  Maria Callas,  Cheryl Studer  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Ericson,  Alceo Galliera,  John Barker,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra members,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 124.
    Simply Callas - Ponchielli, Verdi, Wagner, Etc
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 698772 Release Date: 07/24/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Piero Poldi,  Paolo Silveri,  Gianni Poggi  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Coro Cetra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 125.
    Great Soprano Arias
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82613 Release Date: 05/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Mirella Freni,  Anna Moffo,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  René Duclos Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $5.99
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