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Maria Callas (1923 - 1977)

The career of Maria Callas began in Athens in 1938 in concert, her first professional stage appearance in 1942 as Tosca, and she continued to sing in her native country until September 1945, when she went to the United States.

She returned to Europe in the summer of 1947 and auditioned for the distinguished Italian conductor Tullio Serafin for the title rôle in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda to be given at the Verona Arena in August that year. She was engaged for five performances, thereby making her Italian début. The success of these performances resulted in Callas obtaining rôles in Tristan und Isolde, Turandot, La forza del destino, Aida, Norma, Die Walküre, I Puritani, Nabucco and Parsifal in places such as Venice, Udine, Trieste, Genoa, Rome, Florence, Naples and Palermo.

In the summer of 1949 she made her overseas début in Buenos Aires, followed by Mexico City for the ensuing three years. All the while her star was continuing to rise. She made a last-minute appearance as a replacement for an ailing Renata Tebaldi as Aida in April 1950 at La Scala, but in December 1951 made her ‘proper’ début as Elena in I vespri siciliani.



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