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Five myths about Maria Callas

16 September 2014 / 18:09:36  GRReporter
8931 reads

37 years after the death of opera diva Maria Callas she continues to excite the audience, to be the subject of research, to inspire. To confirm the fact that she is undoubtedly the symbol of opera in the 20th century, HBO film company is preparing to shoot a film about Callas’ life. It will star Meryl Streep and the filming is set to begin in January 2015.

Regardless of how many unknown facts about the life and work of the legendary singer will be revealed, others will continue to support the myths about her. Here are some of them.

Myth #1: Maria Callas swallowed a tapeworm to lose weight. Maria was a chubby child and therefore she had always felt insecure in terms of weight. At a certain point in her life, the singer who was 1.73 metres tall weighed over 90 kilograms. A local myth says that, at some point in her life, the singer swallowed a tapeworm in a desperate attempt to lose weight. According to another version of the same myth, Callas attempted to achieve the same result with the help of a special pastry. The singer categorically rejected the rumours saying that she lost weight in a natural way.

Myth #2: Maria Callas had a child from Aristotle Onassis, who died shortly after birth. Despite the imposed view that Callas could not have children, the rumour that she gave birth to a child from her relationship with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis spread so widely that some spoke of it as a fact. As the rumour in question had it, the child born in 1960 was a boy who died a few hours after birth. Other sources even claim that Callas had ​​at least one abortion during her relationship with Onassis. In fact, the relationship between Callas and Onassis suffered many violent twists, as it is believed that he was too disloyal and constantly cheated on her.

Myth #3: Maria Callas continued her relationship with Onassis even when he married Jackie Kennedy. Onassis parted with Callas in 1968 to marry the widow of John F. Kennedy, Jackie. However, rumour at that time had it that the relationship between the two continued after Aristotle’s marriage to the former first lady of the United States. According to Nicholas Gage’s book "Greek Fire" that was released in the year 2000, Onassis often returned to Callas and begged her to take him back.

Myth #4: Richard Burton rejected Callas’ proposal to be her partner in "Medea" film production. In 1969, Callas decided to debut in "Medea" film production by famous Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. She wanted Richard Burton to play the role of Jason. However, the actor who at that time was absorbed in the problems in his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor rejected Callas' proposal. In his diaries that were later published in the form of memoirs, Burton wrote that he got a call from Callas but rejected her proposal. "It was not welcome, because I was engrossed in reading at that time," says the actor.

Myth # 5: Maria Callas offended her biggest rival on the opera stage, comparing her with "Coca-Cola". Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi was one of the many rivals in the profession of Callas. The media were very well aware of the mutual hatred between the two women, as they did not fail to exchange harsh criticisms and even insults. According to a local myth, Maria Callas was so angry about the constant comparisons between her and Tebaldi that she commented, "It's like comparing champagne with cognac. No, with Coca-Cola."

Attempting to reduce the response to their bad relationships, other sources claim that Callas deeply respected Tebaldi’s singing talents. Famous musician Georges Pretre, a collaborator and friend of Maria Callas, even said in relation to these rumours, "Journalistic crap. The truth is that they both cherished feelings of mutual respect. I know this very well as I worked with them both in ‘Tosca’."

Tags: CelebritiesMaria CallasAristotle OnassisRichard Burton
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