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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Fry Hosts “The Sci­ence of Opera,” a Dis­cus­sion of How Music Moves Us Phys­i­cal­ly to Tears


Expe­ri­ence Invis­i­ble Cities, an Inno­v­a­tive, Ita­lo Calvi­no-Inspired Opera Staged in LA’s Union Sta­tion

Steve Jobs Nar­rates the First “Think Dif­fer­ent” Ad (Where Callas Makes a Cameo Appear­ance)



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