Friday, May 14, 2010

Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou One of the 100 Women that has Influenced Me

Maria Callas was one of the great divas of the 20th century. Both her voice and stage presence are legendary. In 1939, the New York-born Greek made her professional debut at the Athens Olympia Theatre and enjoyed her greatest success at La Scala in Milan throughout the 1950s. Until the mid-1960s, she made numerous appearances at the world’s greatest opera houses. She considered her signature role Norma, which she portrayed almost 90 times, somewhat autobiographical. Callas said, “Norma is in many ways like I am. Norma may appear strong, sometimes even brutal, but in reality she is like a lamb that roars like a lion.”

This was said of Maria by her teacher Maria Trivella

''The tone of the voice was warm, lyrical, intense; it swirled and flared like a flame and filled the air with melodious reverberations like a carillon. It was by any standards an amazing phenomenon, or rather it was a great talent that needed control, technical training, and strict discipline in order to shine with all its brilliance.''

This of her work ethic

De Hidalgo would later recall Callas as "a phenomenon... She would listen to all my students, sopranos, mezzos, tenors... She could do it all." Callas herself said that she would go to "the conservatoire at 10 in the morning and leave with the last pupil ... devouring music" for 10 hours a day. When asked by her teacher why she did this, her answer was that even "with the least talented pupil, he can teach you something that you, the most talented, might not be able to do."

 This she said of her brilliant voice

Yes, but I don't like it. I have to do it, but I don't like it at all because I don't like the kind of voice I have. I really hate listening to myself! I'll tell you something: the first time I listened to a recording of my singing was when we were recording San Giovanni Battista by Stradella in a church in Perugia in 1949. They made me listen to the tape and I cried my eyes out. I wanted to stop everything, to give up singing. I really hate listening to my voice. I do recognise my voice among all the others. I recognize the way I sing. . .It's not even the way I sing; it's the universe that I have, that I bring along when I sing. It's like the way one walks or writes, everybody has his own way, each of them is different. Every voice is unique, don't you think? Also now even though I don't like my voice, I've become able to accept it and to be detached and objective about it so I can say, "Oh, that was really well sung," or "It was nearly perfect."

This she said of her childhood

"I was made to sing when I was only five, and I hated it."

"Children should have a wonderful childhood. I have not had it – I wish I had."

''There must be a law against forcing children to perform at an early age. Children should have a wonderful childhood. They should not be given too much responsibility.''

''I was always too mature for my age - and not very happy. I had no young friends. I wish I could go back to those days. If I could only live it all again, how I would play and enjoy other girls. What a fool I was.''

''My sister was slim and beautiful and friendly, and my mother always preferred her. I was the ugly duckling, fat and clumsy and unpopular. It is a cruel thing to make a child feel ugly and unwanted... I'll never forgive her for taking my childhood away. During all the years I should have been playing and growing up, I was singing or making money. Everything I did for them was mostly good and everything they did to me was mostly bad.''

This of she said of her character

I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged.

This she said and I love

''I would not kill my enemies, but I will make them get down on their knees. I will, I can, I must.''

She was tragic to be sure but more than that was her tremendous talent and grace of carriage. I love her dearly and wanted to share her with you using as much of her words as possible for her integrity mattered to her a great deal.

A lovely weekend to you all.
My love, my care,


  1. When my daughter was in high school, she had a huge poster of Maria Callas on her bedroom wall for inspiration. What is she doing now, 12 years later? She's an opera singer.

  2. My dear,dear Simone!-)*
    Thank you,my dear Friend foer share these unbelievble nice photos of Maria Callas and her words...
    I Love her unique voice and her femininity look,totaly gorgeous,wondeful person she was!!!

    Love and the sunshine for you,

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this, Simone! Maria Callas was an amazing woman.

  4. So inspiring. She was no Edith Piaf, mais là il est.

  5. I had never heard this about her childhood. Still, look what it gave us. Had she been allowed to play with friends instead of working on her voice, SHE might have been happier, but the world would certainly have been poorer.

    Bisou, Cro.

  6. And 'Callas' is a better stage-name. I would have found it hard to remember the other...

  7. Simone,
    This was such an interesting piece and a wonderful tribute to an amazingly talented lady.
    Thanks for sharing. Rita

  8. This is a beautiful post, a tribute to a very special woman. I found it so tragic that she seemed so alone.