Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maria Callas Biography: After Triumph, Late Years

After Tosca with Gobbi and Cioni (London, 1965)
1965 - May
She undertakes a further series of five performances of Norma in Paris; she feels tired but does not want to cancel. On 29 May she finishes Act II Scene 1 practically in a coma; the final scene is cancelled.

1965 - July
She is scheduled to sing four performances of Tosca at Covent Garden. She is advised on medical grounds to withdraw but she decides to sing just once; she chooses the Royal Gala on 5 July, which turns out to be her final appearance on the operatic stage.

Callas relinquishes her American citizenship and takes Greek nationality, thereby technically annulling her marriage to Meneghini; she expects Onassis to marry her but he does not.

1968 - 20th October
After cooling his relationship with Callas, Onassis marries Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of assassinated US president John F. Kennedy; Callas is devastated.

1969 - June/July
Callas plays Medea in a non-operatic film of the play by Euripides, directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini: it is not a commercial success.

Callas gives a series of Master Classes at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She meets up again with her old colleague, the tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, and the two become close friends.

Di Stefano persuades Callas to undertake an extensive international recital tour with him. The tour, a personal triumph but an artistic failure, begins in Hamburg on 25 October and continues into 1974.

After concert in Paris, December 1973

1974 - 11th November
The final concert of the tour with di Stefano takes place in Sapporo, Japan: this is Callas’s last public performance. The liaison with di Stefano finishes. Onassis tries to rekindle his relationship with Callas but she refuses to have him back while he remains married to Jacqueline.

1975 - 15th March
Onassis dies after an operation on his gall bladder; Callas is by now a virtual recluse in Paris.

1977 - 16th September
Alone in her apartment, Callas dies from natural causes.