Maria Callas – born Anna Maria Kalogheropoulous in New York, at the beginning of the roaring years, by a couple of pharmacists from the Peloponneseperformed at La Scala Theatre from 1951 to 1960. Here, in the Milanese temple of opera, she built her myth of Divine.

Her image lives indelibly in the films taken from the operas and in the sporadic television appearances that captured the Italians in the boom years, while numerous recordings allow us to continue listening to her voice that comes, as the director Franco Zeffirelli stated, «through the eardrums to the nerves, to the most secret and recondite cells of the mind, of the heart».

 

HER FIRST NAME:

Anna Maria Cecilia Sophia Kalos, contraction of the original surname Kalogheropoulous, changed to Callas from her father upon the arrival in the United States.

EDUCATION:

She graduated from the Conservatory of Athens in singing, piano and languages.

HER NEIGHBOURHOOD:

The famous soprano lives from 1950 to 1960 in via Buonarroti 38, in the area near Cenacolo Vinciano, together with her husband and patron Giambattista Meneghini.

THE SYMBOLIC PLACE:

The Teatro alla Scala, where she lives the "golden period" of her brilliant artistic career. This relationship began in a troubled way but, however, opens her the doors of international fame: she reaps success after success by interpreting the greatest female figures of the opera, such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady MacBeth, Norma and Medea. The 1955 version of the Traviata, staged by the director Luchino Visconti, makes a sensation for the launch of shoes during the air “Sempre libera” during the I Act. Some artistic differences with the superintendent of La Scala, Antonio Ghiringhelli, lead her away from the Milanese stage. She leaves Milano in 1960 and then settles in Paris, where she faces a less fortunate period of her career and personal life.

A curiosity: in Milano her trusted designer is Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure, aka Biki, to which is dedicated the public walkway that connects Porta Genova to Via Tortona. The designer turns her into a’style icon, helping to make her fame planetary, also as a fashion icon.

THE QUOTE:

I’m not an angel and I don’t pretend to be an angel. It’s not one of my roles. But I’m not even the devil. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like to be judged for that.

THE FILM:

Maria by Callas by Tom Volf (2017).

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