The internationally renowned Maria Callas was a Greek-American soprano who captivated audiences with her iconic opera performances. She was born in New York City in 1923 and her parents were Greek immigrants (George and Evangelia).
- When Callas was a teen, her parents separated and she, her mother and her sister moved back to Greece. In Athens, Callas received her musical education.
- Callas made her professional debut in February 1941, in the small role of Beatrice in Franz von Suppé’s Boccaccio.
- After returning to the United States and reuniting with her father in September 1945, Callas made a round of auditions.
- Then Callas moved to Verona, Italy, where she met Giovanni Battista Meneghini, an older, wealthy industrialist, who began courting her. They married in 1949, and he assumed control of her career.
- By 1951, Callas had sung at all the major theatres in Italy and at the end of the year she made her official debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy’s most prestigious opera house, and this theatre became her artistic home throughout the 1950s.
- Callas and Meneghini split at the end of the 50s, during which time she was having an affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
- During the 1960s, Maria Callas’s formerly stellar singing voice was discernibly faltering. Her performances grew fewer and farther between.
- Callas spent her last years living largely in isolation in Paris and died of a heart attack at age 55 on September 16, 1977.