Music of the Week: June 28, 2024: Maria Callas – Ebben? Ne andrò lontana

Maria Callas was born in December 1923 to Greek immigrants in New York. The rest is history.

Maria Callas was, for many, the greatest opera singer and soprano of the 20th century. Her repertoire encompassed 43 complete partitures as well as arias from 34 additional operas.

Her musical talent was discovered at a very early age. According to accounts, this was exploited by an ambitious mother, leading to a lifelong difficult relationship between mother and daughter. Maria started to study music at age 14 and had her debut in 1938 at the age of 15. Her vocal range spanned almost three octaves, from F-sharp to a high E (or possibly, and debatably, a high F). But most of all, she had a distinctly recognizable voice with a unique presence, color, and character.

We can hear it in our choice for Music of the Week, the famous aria “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” from Alfredo Catalani’s opera La Wally. The same song featured in the 1981 French movie Diva, where it is performed by Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez and was likely chosen upon Maria Callas’ legacy.

Maria Callas, la Divina, died of a heart attack at the age of only 53. Whether her relationship with Aristotle Onassis, later husband to Jacqueline Kennedy, was a factor in her early death will have to remain speculation.


Maria Callas (Wikipedia)

Maria Callas – Official Website

Famous high E in Aida, Mexico City 1951 (YouTube)

Review of 1981 film “Diva”

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