Maria Callas ailleurs

My learnèd and elegant friend Paolo Bullo wrote a beautiful post to honor the anniversary of Maria Callas’s birth into eternal life.

Se leggete l’italiano, andate direttamente al blog di Paolo. (Attenzione, però: Paolo è una persona squisita ma, a quanto pare, alquanto sàdica in materia di tipografia, almeno nei confronti delle persone, come la sottoscritta, di età veneranda. ☺)

If English is easier for you, my quick-and-dirty translation follows.
For a poor soul like me, it is hard to find the right words to recall Maria Callas today, on the thirty-third anniversary of her death.

Who knows, too, whether poor Callas would have wanted to be recalled by me. I rather doubt it.

On the grounds of manifest incompetence, then, I willingly abstain from swelling the river of words that always overflows on these occasions. Instead, I shall quote her teacher, Elvira de Hidalgo, who described her first meeting with the 15-year-old Sofia Anna Maria Cecilia Kalageropoulos, not yet Maria Callas.

Without a word of warning, Maria began to sing. To speak of this now may bring a smile, because we know now who Maria Callas is, but I discovered it then, at that moment.

I suddenly found myself alert, tense.

For years, in secret, I had been waiting for that voice—no, I had been
seeking it.

It was a meeting destined to happen. I closed my eyes. I heard a violent, riotous cascade of sounds, uncontrolled, but dramatic and moving.

And I close with beautiful remarks by Leonardo Bragaglia from the preface of the most recent edition of his book on Maria Callas, L’arte dello stupore.

Maria Callas’s destiny was unique. Audiences showered praise upon her. She was put on a pedestal by critics both qualified and censorious. The greatest conductors and stage directors respected her, but she was insulted by the charlatans of the illustrated magazines, by pens-for-hire!

All of us, music lovers and musicologists, performers and spectators, remain bewildered and embittered by this. We, too, are insulted.

I adore this photo, because I see in it so much humanity and so little rhetoric.
A reader by the very interesting name of Nina Foresti kindly brought to my attention the Official Maria Callas International Archive.

In terms of look and feel, the site is a real blast from the past (party like it’s 1999, kids!), but it contains much interesting material. I commend it to you warmly, though I have barely begun exploring it myself.


  1. It's really a very beautiful post he wrote!

    And, as I said on Twitter, I'm very glad to know about the Official Maria Callas International Archive!

  2. Paolo is a man of few but extremely well-chosen words. I am very lucky to know him.