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 51-75 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 52.
    Carlo Maria Giulini - Anniversary Edition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 14006 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Anna Maria Canali,  Luigi Alva,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    CD: $34.99
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  • 53.
    Verdi: La traviata / Callas, Giulini [Vinyl]
    Label: La Scala   Catalog: LP001 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Raimondi
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
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  • 54.
    Maria Callas at Covent Garden 1962 & 1964
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 3770 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mirto Picchi,  Ebe Stignani,  Giacomo Vaghi  ... 
    Conductor:  Vittorio Gui,  Georges Prêtre,  Carlo Felice Cillario
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    CD: $32.49
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  • 55.
    Cherubini: Medea / Rescigno, Callas, Vickers, Cossotto, Carlyle
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5110 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Jon Vickers,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Nicola Zaccaria  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 56.
    Voices of French Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280462 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Christoph W. Gluck,  André Modeste Grétry  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Miguel Villabella,  Solange Petit-Renaux,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Maurice Cauchie,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Les Folies Françoises,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 57.
    I Pagliaci: Complete Opera
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1235 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi,  Nicola Monti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $11.99
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  • 58.
    Lyric & Coloratura Arias
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1233 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Gustave Charpentier,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Alfredo Simonetto,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra San Remo,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 59.
    Tosca
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2065 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Franco Calabrese,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    On sale! $35.98
    CD: $21.99
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  • 60.
    Un Ballo In Maschera
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2079 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giulietta Simionato,  Eugenia Ratti,  Giuseppe Morresi  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 61.
    Verdi La Traviata / Santini, Callas, Albanese, Savarese, Italian Radio Symphony & Chorus, Turin
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2067 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Ugo Savarese,  Ines Marietti,  Francesco Albanese  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin
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  • 62.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Di Stefano, Gobbi, Callas, Serafin
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2076 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renato Ercolani,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  William Dickie,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor / Callas, Gobbi, Di Stefano
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 359482 Release Date: 03/26/2013   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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 64.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Nino Rota,  Charles Chaplin  ... 
    Performer:  Natasha Marsh,  Sally Herbert,  Nikolaj Bloch,  Jose Alberto Giaimo  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  François-Xavier Roth,  Ron Goodwin,  Michel Plasson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
    CD: $11.99
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  • 65.
    La Bella Voce Di Tenore - Puccini, Verdi, Etc / Di Stefano
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1202 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto De Curtis,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Traditional,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Maria Callas,  Ebe Ticozzi
    Conductor:  Dino Olivieri,  Alberto Erede,  Tullio Serafin,  Renato Cellini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Light Opera Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 66.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 67.
    Verdi - The Great Operas [18-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9012 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renato Ercolani,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Tito Gobbi,  William Dickie  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Renato Cellini,  Gabriele Santini,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  RCA Victor Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $111.98
    CD: $47.99
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  • 68.
    Callas, Verdi: Four Legendary Live Performances
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 799202 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rosita Rodriguez,  Maria Callas,  Ignacio Ruffino,  Roberto Silva  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Victor De Sabata,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 69.
    Essential Opera Divas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234522 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Arleen [Soprano Vocal] Augér,  Patrizia Ciofi,  Véronique Gens,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Fabio Biondi,  Christophe Rousset,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 70.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
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  • 71.
    Maria Callas Sings Verdi
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 668 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Antonino Votto,  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $11.99
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  • 72.
    Essential Film Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5134 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  James Horner,  John Williams  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  David Abel,  Geoff Love  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 73.
    Lyric & Coloratura Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 23073 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    CD: $12.99
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  • 74.
    Maria Callas - The Live Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59794 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rescigno,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jeffrey Tate
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Georges Prêtre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Alfredo Simonetto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  ORTF National Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $46.99
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  • 75.
    Maria Callas - The Studio Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59776 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Monica Sinclair,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonio Tonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $53.99
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