Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Many believe that the opera diva Maria Callas, who charmed the whole world in the middle of the XX century, has remained unsurpassed in her singing talent. Her life was considered a fairy tale, but in fact, fate did not spoil the singer at all. In addition to the fantastic success and love of the public, there was a lot of pain, tragedies and disappointments in her life.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Young Maria made her debut on the stage of the Athens Opera in 1940. Her appearance in the play could not be called planned. The girl was allowed to perform only due to the fact that the performer of the main role in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca was ill.

Maria with her parents and older sister Jackie

An unknown girl, overweight and insecure, was invited thanks to a bright soprano, but no one really believed in her success. Just three years ago, Maria and her mother came from From New York to Athens to study opera singing and now, such an unprecedented luck!

Maria spent whole days at the theater and gave her best at rehearsals completely, but it seemed to her that this was not enough for a worthy debut. Just before going on stage, an unpleasant incident occurred. "Will such an elephant be able to sing Longing?"  Callas heard from one of the employees of the Athens Opera. The offender was immediately knocked out by a large girl who literally flattened the boor's nose with her fist.

Just a moment after the fight, Callas appeared on stage as if nothing had happened with the necessary facial expression for the role. After the first aria, everyone present realized that a new star was in front of them. The ovations seemed endless, and the most impressionable shouted "Divine voice!" and tried to break through to the stage. On this day, Maria realized that if there is a voice, the audience will forgive the extra pounds, myopia, and lack of gloss.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

The girl, who was named at birth Maria Sofia Seselia, was born in In New York, in Manhattan on December 2, 1923, in a family of Greek immigrants. Maria's mother, Evangelia, was fond of singing in her youth, but she was never able to realize herself on the stage. She wanted the best for her daughter, so from the earliest years she was engaged in the development of her talents.She took Maria with her to the library on From the age of three, she taught her to classical music, and at eight she found a good vocal teacher for her. In 1936, Evangelia returned with her daughter to Athens, where it was easier to get a good musical education and start a career. In the USA of those years, visitors from the south of Europe were not particularly favored, considering them almost "colored" and it was incredibly difficult for them to find themselves in art.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

When entering the conservatory, Maria's mother added her age, telling the commission that her daughter was already 16. The exam was held in Greek, which the girl did not know, and Evangeline had to act as an interpreter. No one appreciated Callas ' singing, and she failed the exams.

But Evangeline was not going to back down — she found a Greek teacher and a vocal teacher for her daughter, who were supposed to prepare the future singer for the next admission attempt. Four years of hard work have paid off — Maria Sofia Cecilia, a fat girl from In New York, she turned into Maria Callas — a star of the opera stage.

Almost immediately after arriving in Greece, Callas began to have skin problems. At first, everyone thought that it was a transitional age, but it was not so — all her life, Maria had to cover her face and the decollete area with a thick layer of makeup to hide the symptoms of her illness. It was dermatomyositis — a progressive disease of the connective tissue and skin, gradually destroying the internal organs.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

The singer also created problems with being overweight, because of which she often became a target for jokes. Ten years after the start of her career, already being a world-class star, Callas finally took care of herself and lost weight. Jokes about "Aida with elephant legs" were forgotten — after getting rid of excess weight, Maria turned into a real beauty.

But real connoisseurs of opera art did not care what the star looked like. They admired the voice of Callas, who could perform parts in different performances with different voices. In total, the singer had four of them and she perfectly managed both the part of Brunhilda and Elvira.

Recording studios released records with her arias, and printing houses replicated her portraits. Having lost weight, Maria became for many the standard of a special, Greek beauty. It is not surprising that men were crazy about Callas and she received declarations of love every day, both in letters and in person.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Maria Callas and Giovanni Meneghini

Maria Callas married a millionaire Giovanni Meneghini, who was much older than her. The woman did not like him, but she appreciated his care and the ability to take care of him beautifully. Someone was sure that the reason was hidden in the Italian's wealth, but this was hardly true. By the time of her marriage, Callas was receiving fabulous fees and could afford anything herself.

Giovanni himself was madly in love with his Maria. He handed over the management of his company to his relatives and completely devoted himself to his young wife. Meneghini became everything for Callas-a secretary, an administrator, a producer. From the outside, it seemed that their marriage was perfect and would last until the end of her life, but Maria herself ruined everything by falling in love for the first time.

The love of Mary was called Aristotle Onassis and he as well as Giovanni Meneghini was a millionaire, but much more successful. But unlike the Italian, at the time of meeting the opera diva, he was married. Their acquaintance began quite innocuously — Onassis invited Maria and her husband to go on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

The same yacht of Onassis "Christina O"

But after a couple of days, everyone present began to notice that while Giovanni was resting on a deck chair on the deck, his wife was retiring with the owner of the yacht in his cabin. It seemed that Meneghini was satisfied with everything and many were even sure that he himself put his wife under Onassis, for example, for money.

But, most likely, Giovanni, who was used to his wife's petty intrigues, simply did not take what was happening seriously. Perhaps he thought that everything would end as quickly as it began. During the seven years of her married life, Callas left her husband more than once, but each time she returned and was always generously forgiven.But this time it was different. After a boat trip, as soon as they stepped ashore, Callas and Onassis ' wife Tina simultaneously filed for divorce. Soon Maria and Aristotle began to live together and a new period began in the life of the opera star, which can hardly be called cloudless.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis

Aristotle did not treat Mary in the same way as Giovanni. He mocked his wife and often dismissed his hands, and could hit his wife in the presence of strangers. Callas endured all his antics, blaming everything on a difficult period of life, then on the difficult character of her husband.

When the woman became pregnant, Onassis demanded that she have an abortion, roughly explaining that his fortune already has heirs. Due to problems in the family, Callas ' health was shaken and she sometimes had to refuse to perform. The organizers and the public understood this in their own way and the singer earned a reputation as a capricious and scandalous celebrity.

Meanwhile, Maria Callas ' opera career was collapsing before her eyes. It became difficult for her to take notes that were previously given effortlessly, and at the most crucial moments she did not have enough breath. This began to make itself felt by dermatomyositis, which gradually turned from a cosmetic defect into a serious chronic disease.

At the end of the 60s, something happened that was bound to happen sooner or later-Maria disrupted the finale of the opera, unable to cope with the aria. The army of fans melted away like smoke and all that remained for the former star was ridicule in the press and whispers behind her back.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding on the island of Scorpios

Meanwhile, Onassis, who was connected with Callas only by a civil marriage, did not waste time in vain. While away, Callas learns from the newspapers that her lover has married Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of President John F. Kennedy. Mary was shocked by the treacherous betrayal of Aristotle.

They say that when she learned about the wedding, she said: "The gods will be just. There is justice in the world." Many consider the words of the offended woman a curse — all the heirs of Onassis, for whom he so treasured his millions, have died. In 1973, Alexander Onassis, the son of a millionaire, was killed in a plane crash. And in 1988, under unclear circumstances, his beloved daughter Christina, who was only 37 years old, also passed away.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

Maria Callas as Medea

But the blows of fate raining down on Callas from all sides could not break her. She lost her voice, but she still has a bright exotic appearance. The antique type of Maria's face attracted the attention of director Pierre Pasolini, who offered the woman to play the role of Medea in his historical film. The film was a success, but cinema never became the second vocation of the former opera soloist.

Callas ' illness progressed and the woman had no choice but to retire. The last years of the great singer were spent in Paris, where she lived as a hermit, almost without leaving the apartment. She died of a heart attack in 1977, having outlived her betrayer by two years Onassis. Maria was only 53 years old, but dermatomyositis did not leave her a single chance.

After the sudden death of Maria Callas, there were a variety of rumors. It was said that she was poisoned by a former rival on the stage, who did not forgive the stunning success of the singer, but the cause of death was Maria's illness, which destroyed the heart muscle.

Maria Callas: Triumph, tragedy and mysticism in the life of the best voice of opera

But even after death, this woman did not find peace. The urn with her ashes, placed in the columbarium of the Paris necropolis of Pere Lachaise, was stolen. After a while, the remains of the singer were returned, but in order to avoid a repeat of the unpleasant story, it was decided to scatter the ashes over the Aegean Sea. An empty urn with the name of Maria Callas is now located in a Paris cemetery and fans of her great talent come to her.

Keywords: Athens | Illness | Millionaire | Mysticism | Opera | Paris | Singer | Death | Talent | Theater | Tragedy

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