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 26-50 of 160 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Maria Callas: The Complete Studio Recitals
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556097 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
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  • 27.
    100 Best Film Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553645 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Richard Strauss,  John Williams,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Gary Hoffman,  Gérard Caussé  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Rudolf Kempe,  Geoff Love,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Jean-Marie Leclair,  The Hungarian Quartet,  Il Giardino Armonico  ... 
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  • 28.
    Stars Der Oper
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 38 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Giuseppe de Luca,  Amelita Galli-Curci,  Ezio Pinza  ... 
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Giulio Setti,  Bruno Reibold,  Bruno Seidler-Winkler  ... 
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  • 29.
    Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Callas, Ludwig, Corelli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634084 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Piero de Palma,  Christa Ludwig,  Edda Vincenzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 30.
    Callas A Paris
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634002 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
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  • 31.
    Cherubini: Medea / Serafin, Callas, Picchi, Scotto
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634083 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Lydia Marimpietri,  Miriam Pirazzini,  Mirto Picchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 32.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Serafin, Callas, Tagliavini, Cappouccilli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634081 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Ferruccio Tagliavini,  Margreta Elkins,  Piero Cappuccilli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 33.
    Ponchielli: La Gioconda / Votto, Callas, Cossotto, Cappuccilli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634080 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Irene Companeez,  Pier Miranda Ferraro,  Ivo Vinco  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 34.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Serafin, Callas, Tucker
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Richard Tucker,  Carlo Tagliabue,  Elena Nicolai  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 35.
    Callas Sings Rossini and Donizetti Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634009 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 36.
    Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Serafin, Callas, Panerai, Di Stefano, Ticozzi
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634090 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Ebe Ticozzi,  Anna Maria Canali,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 37.
    Rossini: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia / Galliera, Callas, Gobbi, Alva
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634089 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Gabriella Carturan,  Luigi Alva,  Tito Gobbi,  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 38.
    Verdi La Traviata / Santini, Callas, Albanese, Savarese, Italian Radio Symphony
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634085 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Francesco Albanese,  Maria Callas,  Ugo Savarese,  Ines Marietti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin
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  • 39.
    Cherubini: Medea / Schippers, Callas, Vickers, Ghiaurov
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 292 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Jon Vickers,  Giulietta Simionato,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 40.
    Bizet: Carmen / Pretre, Callas, Guiot, Gedda, Massard
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634110 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Andréa Guiot,  Nadine Sautereau,  Jean-Paul Vauquelin,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Orchestra,  René Duclos Chorus,  Jean Pesneaud Children's Choir
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  • 41.
    Callas Portrays Verdi Heroines
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634015 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Callas, Gobbi, Di Stefano, Serafin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634109 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi,  Raffaele Arié,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 43.
    Maria Callas Remastered - Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Puccini: La Boheme / Votto, Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634107 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Rolando Panerai,  Anna Moffo,  Manuel Spatafora,  Nicola Zaccaria  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 45.
    Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Karajan, Callas, Gedda, Danieli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634099 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mario Borriello,  Renato Ercolani,  Lucia Danieli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 46.
    Puccini: Tosca / Maria Callas, Victor De Sabata, La Scala Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634103 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dario Caselli,  Melchiorre Luise,  Angelo Mercuriali,  Franco Calabrese  ... 
    Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Puccini: Turandot / Serafin, Callas, Schwarzkopf
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634100 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Elisabetta Fusco,  Giulio Mauri,  Maria Callas,  Nicola Zaccaria  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 48.
    Pure / Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633994 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Francesco Albanese,  Nadine Sautereau,  Jane Berbié
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Gabriele Santini,  Victor De Sabata,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
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  • 49.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Karajan, Callas, Panerai, Barbieri
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634094 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giulio Mauri,  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Fedora Barbieri  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 50.
    Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani    / Kleiber, Calllas, Mascherini, Christoff
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 227 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Boris Christoff,  Maria Callas,  Giorgio Kokolios Bardi,  Enzo Mascherini
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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