Maria Callas Essentials
Born a century ago in December 1923, Greek soprano Maria Callas was the greatest of opera stars—a global artist who brought vocal agility, dramatic intensity, and sheer stage presence to every role she played, from Verdi’s Aida to Bizet’s Carmen. Technically astonishing, Callas also possessed unrivaled expressive powers that proved perfect for virtuosic bel canto operas such as Bellini’s Norma and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor, works that had lain neglected at the start of the 20th century. Channeling her own turbulent life, Callas brought empathy and passion to both of Puccini’s most tragic heroines, Madama Butterfly and Tosca. Her major stage career, centered around Milan’s La Scala but witnessed across the world’s opera houses, may have lasted barely 14 years, but Callas left behind priceless recordings, many of which you can hear in this hand-selected playlist.