Callas and Dacia Maraini

In the early 1970s, Callas travelled to Africa with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alberto Moravia, and Dacia Maraini. (Wow, wouldn’t you like to have gone on that trip?)

Maraini interviewed Callas, and I offer you a translation of part of the interview.

Which operatic character did you most enjoy interpreting?
Norma. That scold who understands everything but can do nothing. Perhaps she resembles me.

What rôle has religion played in your life?
I believe in a divine power, even if I don’t know its name. The stagecraft, the coups de théâtre of organized religion don’t appeal to me at all. But I wouldn’t be an atheist, because that would be a negative outlook. My only sanctimonious gesture is making the sign of the cross before I go on stage. It’s a habit, a superstition.

You were born Orthodox, yes?
Yes, and I’m still Orthodox, though not in a traditional way.

If you had to define your moral in a few words, what would it be?
I don’t hurt others, though it might be easy for me to do so. First, because I don’t want to—vengeance depresses me—and second, because I fear that the hurt would fall back on me. Sooner or later the ugly things that we do come back to haunt us. I love good manners; I hate hypocrisy. I’m kind with those who respect me. I don’t easily forgive those who lash out at me.


  1. I just loved her answers! It shows us that Callas had very strong opinions not only about opera and drama, but also about religion. (Where can we read the whole interview?)

    That's a really interesting group to travel with! (In that trip Callas came once more to Brazil, right?)

  2. Hi José Luiz! The whole interview, in Italian, is in a collection of Dacia Maraini's interviews which also includes Claudio Abbado, Giorgio de Chirico, Luca Ronconi, and other notables.

    Not sure about the Brazil trip, sorry.

    Thanks again for reading, mlr