This past Saturday, December 2, marked the 83rd anniversary of the birth of soprano Maria Callas (1923-1977).
As Wikipedia notes, “[Callas] combined an impressive bel canto technique with great dramatic gifts, making her one of the most famous opera singers of any era. An extremely versatile singer, her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria, to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini, to Verdi, Puccini, and in her early career, the music dramas of Wagner. The phenomenal scale of her musical and dramatic talents earned her the title of La Divina”.
In remembering the life and art of Maria Callas, I’d like to share a clip of her singing one of my favorite arias, “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi.
I'd like to share her performance of this aria that was recorded in Paris for a French television special in the year of my birth – 1965. Enjoy!
In the summer of 2005, I visited Paris with my parents. One of the places we visited in the city was the former home of Maria Callas, located at 36 Georges Mandel Avenue. Callas lived at this address from the late 1960s until her death on September 16, 1977.
In 2000, Georges Mandel Avenue was dedicated to Maria Callas. In attendence at the dedication ceremony was celebrated conductor Georges Prêtre, who had frequently worked with Callas and who can be seen conducting the orchestra in the above clip.
Here's a little known fact: In 1969, Callas teamed up with Marxist director Pier Paolo Pasolini to make her one and only film, a non-musical interpretation of Medea. To visit the website I’ve created which documents and celebrates this truly “hypnotic cinematic experience”, click here.