Maria Callas, singer
Opera singer
birth name: Maria Anne Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos

Maria Callas

December 2, 1923, New York, NY ~ September 16, 1977, Paris, France

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 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. ~ Allmusic: Maria Callas ~ retrieved July 14, 2014© Allmusic

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This story may just be a myth, though, since the Met maintains Callas' audition was not a success and that she was never offered a contract. Maria was, however, able to find work. After an engagement in La Gioconda in Verona, she traveled to Venice to sing Brünnhilde in Die Walküre for the 1948/9 season with Tullio Serafin conducting. I Puritani would be performed in Venice shortly after starring the Italian soprano Margherita Carosio as Elvira. One night, Maria got tired of Brünnhilde's Ho-jo-to-hos and began sight-reading Elvira's music. When Serafin's wife heard Maria, she immediately called her husband and requested that Maria sing for him also. She did just that but Maria did not know that Carosio had fallen ill and that a replacement would be needed. The following morning, Maria sang for the Musical Director of the Opera House who decided that Maria would be the best choice as Elvira. She was given one week to learn the entire opera, a week which contained three performances of Die Walküre. After the first I Puritani on January 19, 1949, Maria became the talk of Italy. It was a huge success, even though she had made some small mistakes, one of them being that instead of singing “son vergin vezzosa” (I am a charming virgin), she sang “son vergin viziosa” (I am a vicious virgin). ~ Sopranos.freeservers: Maria Callas ~ retrieved July 24, 2013 © Soprano Central

Maria Callas ~ Awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

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