Callas remembered

Over the years, much ink has been spilled about the relationship between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. I believe that even today, moralistic outrage over Callas’s “scandalous” behavior motivates some part of the abuse still hurled at her.

It is interesting, then, to read this recollection of her by a Catholic priest—Father Vittricio Mabellini, associated with the Centro culturale francescano Rosetum of Milano, at which Callas cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony in 1957.

He took to visiting her home in via Buonarrotti.
Slowly, I began to understand why Maria Callas asked for my prayers with such great insistence and was so keen to confide in me: She was something of a prisoner in her own home, and no great atmosphere of affection reigned there. Her husband was 33 [actually, 26 or 27] years older than she, and their relationship was more formal and exterior than anything else.

She had a proud character, and I never saw her really happy. At most, a smile or a nod. In short, the air was heavy in that home. Let us not forget, then, that Maria Callas was a Greek woman, Mediterranean, thirsty for affection and true feelings.

I say these things not to take a certain position vis-à-vis this woman of whom so much has been said, for good and for ill. I am simply relating what were, at the time, my direct impressions.
From Ricordo di Maria Callas, Edizioni Rosetum (1992).

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