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Maria Callas: Passion is the secret ingredient

I prepare myself for rehearsals like I would for marriage.

by Maria Callas
Today is a special day to remember Soprano Maria Callas as the 40th anniversary of her death still casts a shadow on the hearts of every opera enthusiast in the world. Callas had an exceptional talent that led her to develop a fascinating career. However, there was more than simple talent and musicality. Callas was passionate and absolutely submerged into the characters and the feelings of the music. Callas was brave enough to embody the music, the ideas, and the emotions with no restrains. This was the spell that captivated the entire world and the reason for us to remember her today.

Callas did have a high self-esteem and a desire for perfectionism. However, the reality shows that she abandoned herself to be led by the music. In other words, Callas allowed the music to take over and use her as a vessel to deliver something much bigger and powerful. We can see this happening with the number of roles that she brought to life in so many stages across the world. Her death 40 years ago is still a mystery and is full of speculation. The best thing we can do is admire her art and her legacy as Callas became this star by not being herself but by becoming the music. This is how other people saw Callas with admiration and respect:

Callas? She was pure electricity!

by Leonard Bernstein

She opened a new door for us, for all the singers in the world, a door that had been closed. Behind it was sleeping not only great music but great idea of interpretation. She has given us the chance, those who follow her, to do things that were hardly possible before her. That I am compared with Callas is something I never dared to dream. It is not right. I am much smaller than Callas.

by Montserrat Caballé

Callas, way above the rest. Tebaldi had a fantastic voice, like an angel's. But even when Callas's voice wasn't perfect, she had so much interpretation. Opera is storytelling. Feelings must be conveyed. Acting must be moving. And Callas had it all.

by Giuseppe Di Stefano

It takes a little more time to get into the role, but not very much more. In making a record you don't have the sense of projection over a distance as in an opera house. We have this microphone and this magnifies all details of a performance, all exaggerations. In the theater, you can get away with a very large, very grand phrase. For the microphone, you have to tone it down. It's the same as making a film, your gestures will be seen in close-up, so they cannot be exaggerated as they would be in a theater.

by Maria Callas
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