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 76-100 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Callas Alla Scala, Vol. 1 - (CD With Booklet)
    Label: La Scala   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 77.
    Voices of Italian Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidň  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 78.
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6647 Release Date: 07/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Gabriele Santini,  Guido Picco
    CD: $29.99
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  • 79.
    Donizetti: Anna Bolena / Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Gavazzeni
    Label: La Scala   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Maria Callas,  Giulietta Simionato,  Gianni Raimondi
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $39.99
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  • 80.
    Verdi: La Traviata / Callas, Albanese, Savarese, Santini, Albertini
    Label: Cetra   Catalog: 662115 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Francesco Albanese,  Ede Marietti-Gandolfo,  Tommaso Soley  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Coro Cetra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 81.
    Spontini: La Vestale / Votto, Callas, Corelli, Sordello
    Label: La Scala   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gasparo Spontini
    Performer:  Enzo Sordello,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Ebe Stignani,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 82.
    Rossini: Il Turco In Italia / Gavazzeni, Callas, Gedda
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29080 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Mariano Stabile  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 83.
    Classical 2012 / Angela Gheorghiu, David Fray, Alison Balsom, Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6804032 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Natalie Dessay,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble,  Les Talens Lyriques,  I Barocchisti  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 84.
    Thomas Newman: The Iron Lady - Music From The Motion Picture
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 91434 Release Date: 12/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leslie Stuart,  Thomas Newman,  Richard Rodgers,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Marni Nixon,  Deborah Kerr,  Yul Brynner,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Newman,  Tullio Serafin
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  • 85.
    The Callas Effect [2 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 84356 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Renato Ercolani,  Carlo Forti
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Franco Ghione,  Georges Prętre,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Lisbon San Carlos National Theater Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $22.99
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  • 86.
    The Callas Effect [Standard Edition]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 84362 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Renato Ercolani,  Carlo Forti
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Franco Ghione,  Georges Prętre,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Lisbon San Carlos National Theater Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 87.
    50 Best Puccini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48479 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Giorgio [Bass Vocal] Tadeo,  Carlo [Tenor Vocals] Bergonzi,  Maria Callas,  Renato Ercolani  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prętre,  Gabriele Santini,  Bruno Bartoletti,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 88.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Serafin, Callas, Tucker
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 48191 Release Date: 04/05/2011   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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    CD: $36.99
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  • 89.
    Verdi: La Traviata / Rescigno, Callas, Valletti, Zanasi, Collier
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5006 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Marie Collier,  Ronald Lewis,  Cesare Valletti,  David Kelly  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 90.
    Essential Puccini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07139 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Alfredo Kraus,  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Thomas Schippers,  Antonio Pappano,  Anton Guadagno  ... 
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  • 91.
    Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana; Leoncavallo: Pagliacci
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40722 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Tito Gobbi,  Nicola Monti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 92.
    Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Serafin, Callas, Di Stefano, Cossotto
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40754 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Giulio Fioravanti,  Dino Formichini  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 93.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Karajan, Callas, Panerai, Barbieri
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40773 Release Date: 11/09/2010   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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  • 94.
    Essential Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27920 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Gedda,  Ernest Blanc,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Thomas Schippers,  Pierre Dervaux,  Gianluigi Gelmetti  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 95.
    50 Best Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57510 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    CD: $11.99
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  • 96.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 97.
    50 Best Romantic Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57555 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Ann Murray,  Jessye Norman,  Han-Na Chang,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling,  Leonard Slatkin,  Georges Prętre,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 98.
    100 Best Verdi
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Richard Van Allan,  Keith Erwen,  Delia Wallis,  Ferruccio Mazzoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Tullio Serafin,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 99.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Rolando Villazón,  Renato Bruson,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Marcello Viotti,  Giuseppe Patané,  Julius Rudel  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 100.
    Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia / Callas, Gobbi, Alva, Galliera, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56444 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Luigi Alva,  Tito Gobbi,  Maria Callas,  Gabriella Carturan
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
    CD: $24.99
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