Whygold’s Weekend

Whygold’s Weekend

… under this motto I present you my music tip for the weekend.

Maybe one or the other discovers something new.

Consciously listening to music is, in my opinion, as important as reading a good book.

Today: The New Sound of Maria Callas


Maria Callas (real name Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulou, Greek Μαρία Άννα Σοφία Καικιλία Καλογεροπούλου; * December 2, 1923 in New York City; † September 16, 1977 in Paris) was a Greek singer. She also had Italian citizenship. She was one of the most important sopranos of the 20th century.

Maria Callas was born on December 2, 1923, in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, the second daughter of Greek immigrants George Kalogeropoulos (1881-1972) and Elmina Evangelia Dimitriadou (1894-1982) from Meligalas[1]. Her older brother Vassilios[1] had died of typhoid fever[1] in Greece. The parents had been living in the United States for six[1] months at that time. The father changed the family name to Callas in 1929 , after opening a low-earning pharmacy in the Greek Quarter of Manhattan in 1927.[1 ] In 1937, after the separation of her parents, Maria went to Athens with mother Evangelia and sister Yakynthy (Jackie[1]). She made her first public appearance in November 1938 in
Cavalleria rusticana
in Athens, when she was still studying at the Athens Conservatory with Maria Trivella[1]. From the beginning of 1938 she studied singing with Elvira de Hidalgo,[1] also at the Athens Conservatory. In August 1942, at the National Opera of Athens, she sang for the first time the role of
in April 1944 she took on the role of Marta for the first time in
.[1] At the Greek premiere of
at the Herodes Atticus Theater[1] on August 14, 1944,[1] she took the title role. In 1949 she married the Italian entrepreneur Giovanni Battista Meneghini and took Italian citizenship.

Maria Callas appeared in many roles. Her repertoire included 43 complete roles as well as arias from another 34 operas. Her voice ranged from f-sharp in Verdi’s
Sicilian Vespers
to f3 in Rossini’s
. In addition to the range of almost three octaves, her voice possessed great flexibility. Callas mastered all the vocal tonal techniques of bel canto singing. In 1951, she performed as Aida at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. She concluded the end of the victory scene in Act 2, deviating from the score, with a crystal clear es3. “The audience went nuts,” the record company EMI described the reaction. The historic recording survives and was issued on CD by EMI in the 1990s as Aida Live 1951.

Among her best-known interpretations are Luigi Cherubini’s
Violetta in Verdi ‘s
La traviata
(1951 ff.) and Bellini’s
(1948 ff.). Constanze from
The Abduction from the Seraglio
(1952) is the only Mozart role she has performed.[2] Her merits include the interpretation and portrayal of bel canto operas by Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. Her performances in Rossini’s
Il turco in Italia
and Armida, Donizetti’s
Anna Bolena
Lucia di Lammermoor
and Bellini’s Norma and
Il pirata
prepared the way for singers like Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballé, who became famous in these roles years later.

In July 1959, Maria Callas was introduced to Aristotle Onassis by Elsa Maxwell and shortly thereafter began a love affair with the Greek billionaire that led to the divorce of her marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini in 1959 and Onassis’ divorce from his then-wife Athina Livanos in 1960.[3] In April 1966, Callas had renounced her U.S. citizenship in exchange.[4] Even after Onassis’ marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968, he and “the Callas” were repeatedly seen together in public in the 1970s. In 1969, Maria Callas played the role of Medea in Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s film of the same name for $65,000[4]. Her good financial situation allowed her to have her apartment on the Avenue Georges-Mandel[4] in Paris glamorously furnished by the decorator Georges Grandpierre[4]. On March 15, 1975, she woke up at Onassis’ deathbed in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[4] From 1971 to 1972, she temporarily taught selected master classes at the Juilliard School in New York. Together with her former musical partner Giuseppe Di Stefano, she attempted a comeback in several recital tours.

On September 16, 1977, Maria Callas died of a heart attack at the age of 53 in Paris, Avenue Georges-Mandel No. 36.[5] The funeral service according to the Byzantine rite took place on September 20, 1977, in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Paris. Among the mourners were Princess Gracia of Monaco, Princess Caroline, baritone Tito Gobbi and film producer Franco Rossellini.[6] Following her wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes scattered off the Greek island of Scorpios in the Ionian Sea. In the columbarium of the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris there is a symbolic urn grave.

(Source: Wikipedia)

As an opera lover, I like to treat myself to this recording every now and then along with a glass of red wine.

Have fun listening to this album !

Your Chris Weigold

P.S.: Maybe you enjoy the listening pleasure together with a Glass of wine from our “Orchestra of Cultures Edition”.