Maria Callas Performs at Covent Garden in 1962, Toward the End of Her Brief But Spectacular Career

Maria Callas’s short and storied opera career first took off in Italy in the late 1940s and early 1950s. From there, her distinctive voice — some would call it “ugly,” others, magical — carried the soprano to London, Paris and New York. She’s remembered for her performances in La traviata, Norma and Tosca as much as for her rapid personal and professional decline. By the mid 1950s, her voice began to lose its warmth “becoming thin and acidulous,” some would say. At 40, her singing career was basically over. Then, at 53, she died of a heart attack in Paris, alone and unhappy. Above, we have Callas performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on November 4, 1962, basically toward the end of her brief but spectacular career. She was a surprise participant in a gala concert broadcast on British television. Callas would have turned 90 today, an occasion marked by this Google doodle.

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