Posted by Hip Hop 50's Shop on 5/22/2012
Maria Callas was born Sophia Cecelia Kalos on December 2, 1923. Born in America with Greek heritage, she was one of the best known opera singers of the 1900s. Her high-pressure mother sent her to Greece to study music and from there she went on to start work in Italy.
Her childhood was a subject of much public interest, as Callas reported that her mother used to put her down for being fat and that she favored Callas’ sister. She was made to sing and work almost continuously as a child, making money for her mother, while her slim and attractive sister was allowed to play.
Starting out her career overweight and with myopia that made it next to impossible for her to see onstage, Callas began losing weight during the middle of her career. When she reached an ideal weight, with a lovely figure, many say that her vocal quality dropped and her popularity went down with it.
Her bel canto technique, her wide vocal range, and her unusual sound helped her rise to stardom above so many others. She was nothing like the typical opera performer. Many critics commented on her very different vocal quality.
Rodolfo Celletti, a critic from Italy, said, "The timbre of Callas's voice, considered purely as sound, was essentially ugly: it was a thin sound, which gave the impression of dryness, of aridity. It lacked those elements which, in a singer's jargon, are described as velvet and varnish... yet I really believe that part of her appeal was precisely due to this fact. Why? Because for all its natural lack of varnish, velvet and richness, this voice could acquire such distinctive colours and timbres as to be unforgettable."
Callas sang classical opera and bel canto operas. Some of her best performances might arguably be when she sang the music of Puccini and Verdi. But she also performed operas of Rozzini, Bellini, Donizetti and others. Her life and story were somewhat rocky, but her music spoke for itself.
And almost 30 years after she passed away, Opera News wrote, in 2006, that she defined the word “diva” and that she was one of classical music’s most enduring and still best-selling musicians. The legend of Maria Callas lives on in her music, still loved by most classical opera fans.