La Maria – Η ζωή και οι έρωτες της Μαρίας Κάλλας
“I was born without a name. At the age of three I was christened Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria, daughter of Greek immigrants Giorgos and Evangelia Kalogeropoulos. Kalogeropoulos evolved into Callas, Maria Callas. And by the will of the gods, or by what we Greeks call teehee or moira, I became La Maria, Opera’s prima donna. Music’s Apollo was my God. Tragedy’s Melpomene my muse.”
Thus, begins the life odyssey of Maria Callas. Her search for love begins from the beginning of her life with a mother who loved not Maria her daughter but Maria the voice, a voice that would make her rich and famous. Nor, does Callas have the love of a father who was only a distant, absent figure in her life. Callas resented the love showered by her mother on Jackie (Yacinthy) who was considered the beautiful sister. Callas saw herself as “fat, clumsy, and unattractive…unworthy of being loved by anyone.”
Callas would find the love that she yearned for first in the passionate operatic roles of Norma, Violetta, Tosca, Lucia, and Medea, women who gave themselves selflessly to love. Callas sought for this idealistic, romantic love throughout her life- First, in her marriage to Italian industrialist, Giovanni Batista Meneghini, 28 years her senior. But, Meneghini failed to fill the void in her heart. Callas could only find the love she sought on the stage. “On stage, I was loved. On stage I had lovers who loved me passionately. I was the object of their passion.”
The passion that Callas yearned to receive she gave to her audiences in every role that she played. Passion is what she brought to the operatic stage. Callas revolutionized opera. Her dramatic talents brought to life each character that she portrayed. “The human voice must reveal the soul of the music.” Critics and colleagues criticized her. Elsa Maxwell, gossip columnist, and Reneta Tebaldi, opera diva, both attacked her portrayals. Callas never yielded to her critics who painted her as temperamental and prone to tantrums. “Maria Callas does not have tantrums. Maria Callas demands excellence in all that she is and does.” Callas was passionate about her art. But, there was also a passion seething inside Callas the woman. “In the life of a woman, that of a real woman, love is more important than any awful career.” And, so by the will of the gods, Artemis shot an arrow into her heart wounding it forever. La Maria was about to meet her match. His name Aristotle Socrates Onassis. Maria Callas, the woman, surrendered her art for the love of a man, a man who would betray her for the love of another woman, Jackie Kennedy, widow of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. “This heart has been broken many times, my friends, but a heart that breaks feels…”
Maria Callas, the passionate opera diva, lives on through her music, her voice, her art.
“Life is short. Art is long.” Hippocrates.
Maria Callas, the passionate woman, lived the life that she was fated to live.
I have been enthralled with the chanting of muses. But, fate is stronger than anything I have ever known.” Euripides.
“Ah, the Wisdom of the Greeks!”