Today is the birth anniversary of the greatest opera diva of all time, Maria Callas.
Maria Callas was one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century.
Critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic gifts. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini; further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Her artistic achievements were such that Leonard Bernstein called her “the Bible of opera”.
In 2006, Opera News wrote of her: “Nearly thirty years after her death, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist—and still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists.
Her voice was amazing, beautiful, extraordinary, in other words, one of a kind.
Her name, legend, story, acting talent and vocal size, sound and range is extraordinary.
Maestro Antonino Votto, Callas was “The last great artist”
Some trivia: In 1969, the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini cast Callas in her only non-operatic acting role, as the Greek mythological character of Medea, in his film by that name.
The production was grueling, and according to the account in Ardoin’s Callas, the Art and the Life, Callas is said to have fainted after a day of strenuous running back and forth on a mudflat in the sun.
The film was not a commercial success, but as Callas’s only film appearance, it documents her stage presence.
The 30th anniversary of the death of Maria Callas was selected as the main motif for a high value euro collectors’ coin: the €10 Greek Maria Callas commemorative coin, minted in 2007. Her image is shown in the obverse of the coin, while on the reverse the National Emblem of Greece with her signature is depicted.
Google honored Callas on her 90th birthday by showing her in a Doodle on December 2, 2013.