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Callas, Maria (b. Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos)(1923–77) soprano; born in New York City. Callas studied voice in Athens and made her operatic debut there in 1938. Her European career blossomed in the late 1940s; from then until her retirement from the stage in 1965, she was celebrated less for a glorious voice than for her electrifying dramatic gifts—as seen in roles such as Medea and Norma—and her equally dramatic temperament and romantic life, including a long liaison with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
(real surname, Kalogeropoulou). Born Dec. 3, 1923, in New York. Opera singer (lyric-dramatic soprano).
Callas, a Greek by nationality, is an outstanding representative of contemporary vocal art. In 1937 she began to study singing under E. de Hidalgo at the Conservatory of Athens. In 1938 she made her debut at the Athens Opera. In the late 1940’s, Callas sang in Italian theaters. Since the early 1950’s she has sung in the world’s most prominant theaters, including La Scalain in Milan (1950), Covent Garden in London (1952), the Chicago Opera House (1954-55), and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York (1956-58). In 1960, Callas became a soloist at La Scala.
Her vocal technique is similar to that of the Italian romantic school of opera (mastery of bel canto). Her performances are characterized by a unity of vocal and dramatic imagery. Callas’ most successful parts have included the title roles in Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor and Anna Bolena; Norma, Amina, and Imogena in Bellini’s Norma, La Sonnambula, and Il Pirata; Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata; and the title role in Puccini’s Tosca.