Maria Callas: A life in pictures
Maria Callas: A life in pictures Copyright Credit: Getty

La Divina at 100: The extraordinary life of Maria Callas in pictures

By Theo Farrant
Share this article
Share this articleClose Button

Take a look at the American-born Greek soprano's meteoric rise as the 'original diva' of opera, as the world celebrates the centenary of her birth.

ADVERTISEMENT

Maria Callas, one of opera's all time greatest stars, was born 100 years ago today. 

To this day, her status remains undiminished. 

Born Sophia Cecilia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulou to Greek immigrant parents, the legendary soprano left an enduring imprint with her unparalleled bel canto vocal technique, dramatic prowess, and unwavering commitment to the craft.

Throughout the course of her remarkable life, Callas brushed shoulders with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth II and was adored by audiences worldwide. 

Hailed by many as the 'original diva', she tragically died in her Paris flat in 1977, after suffering a heart attack aged 53.

As the world of opera and culture celebrates the centenary of her birth, here's a collection of iconic photographs that chronicle the life of "La Divina". 

Greek opera star Maria Callas and her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, an Italian industrialist, in a Milan hotel, April 23, 1951.
Greek opera star Maria Callas and her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, an Italian industrialist, in a Milan hotel, April 23, 1951.Credit: 1951 AP
Callas confronts US Marshal Stanley Pringle, one of the servers trying to serve her summonses after her final "Madame Butterfly" performance at Civic Opera House, Chicago.
Callas confronts US Marshal Stanley Pringle, one of the servers trying to serve her summonses after her final "Madame Butterfly" performance at Civic Opera House, Chicago.Nov. 17, 1955 Credit: Bud Daley/AP
Renowned soprano Maria Meneghini-Callas plays with her poodle at home in Milan on Nov. 24, 1955, while her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, watches.
Renowned soprano Maria Meneghini-Callas plays with her poodle at home in Milan on Nov. 24, 1955, while her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, watches.Credit: Raoul Fornezza/AP1955
Opera Soprano Maria Callas holds and feeds pigeons in Trafalgar Square, in London, Feb. 4, 1957.
Opera Soprano Maria Callas holds and feeds pigeons in Trafalgar Square, in London, Feb. 4, 1957.Credit: Sidney Smart/AP
Opera soprano Maria Callas acknowledges cheers from a capacity crowd at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, Jan. 22, 1958.
Opera soprano Maria Callas acknowledges cheers from a capacity crowd at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, Jan. 22, 1958.Credit: Ed Maloney/1958 AP
Satisfied, Maria Callas evades reporters in Athens by sailing in a motor launch after arriving from Bilbao, Spain, on Sept. 18, 1959.
Satisfied, Maria Callas evades reporters in Athens by sailing in a motor launch after arriving from Bilbao, Spain, on Sept. 18, 1959.Credit: AP
Famous soprano Maria Callas is shown during rehearsal for Cherubini's "Medea" with Canadian tenor Jon Vickers at La Scala, Milan, Dec. 11, 1961.
Famous soprano Maria Callas is shown during rehearsal for Cherubini's "Medea" with Canadian tenor Jon Vickers at La Scala, Milan, Dec. 11, 1961.Credit: AP Photo
Callas sings at the Theater de Champs Elysees in Paris, France, under the direction of Maestro Georges Pretre, June 5, 1963.
Callas sings at the Theater de Champs Elysees in Paris, France, under the direction of Maestro Georges Pretre, June 5, 1963.Credit: Jean-Jacques Levy/AP
Callas pictured on stage with Renato Cioni during the gala performance of Tosca at the Royal Covent Garden Opera House, London, on Monday, July 5, 1965.
Callas pictured on stage with Renato Cioni during the gala performance of Tosca at the Royal Covent Garden Opera House, London, on Monday, July 5, 1965.Credit: Robert Dear/AP
Callas enters court in Brescia, Italy, with two unidentified escorts, for the first hearing of her divorce from Giovanni Battista Meneghini, Jan. 15, 1971
Callas enters court in Brescia, Italy, with two unidentified escorts, for the first hearing of her divorce from Giovanni Battista Meneghini, Jan. 15, 1971Credit: Raoul Fornezza/AP
Callas is taken by surprise by baby elephant 'Djumbo', during the lottery draw at the 38th Gala of the Artists Union in Paris, France, April 23, 1971.
Callas is taken by surprise by baby elephant 'Djumbo', during the lottery draw at the 38th Gala of the Artists Union in Paris, France, April 23, 1971.Credit: AP
Giuseppe di Stefano holds hands with Callas on the Carnegie Hall stage in New York City on March 5, 1974, after their participation in the Met Opera's guild benefit concert.
Giuseppe di Stefano holds hands with Callas on the Carnegie Hall stage in New York City on March 5, 1974, after their participation in the Met Opera's guild benefit concert.Credit: AP
Funeral employees carry the coffin of Callas out of her Paris apartment to a funeral service at the Greek Orthodox church in Paris, Sept. 20, 1977.
Funeral employees carry the coffin of Callas out of her Paris apartment to a funeral service at the Greek Orthodox church in Paris, Sept. 20, 1977.Credit: Jacques Langevin/AP

Maria Callas - 1923-1977.

Share this article

You might also like