Arts & Culture

Maria Callas and Medea

Maria Callas was an opera singer born in New York city, 1923. She trained at a conservatory in Athens during her teen years. Her first professional opera debut was with the Royal Opera of Athens in 1941. Throughout the 1940s she started gaining world-wide fame performing bigger roles. It wasn’t until 1953 that Callas performed the role that was closely associated with her for the rest of her career, Medea.


Maria Callas did not just portray the title role of Medea in the opera, she also brought Medea to life on the big screen. This film would be her only non-operatic role. Not only was the film a non-musical, it hardly had any dialogue at all. The director took a more “artistic” approach with camera angles and many close ups of Callas’s face. Her work on Medea, both the opera and the film, propelled the story to its full potential and gave her the stardom she deserved.


On May 7th, 1953 Maria Callas performed her opening night; starring as the title role in Medea at the Teatro Comunale, Florence, with composer Vittorio Gui. She only had one week of preparation before taking on Cherubini’s famous Medea making her performance even more astounding. Her performance is considered to be the most famous and well executed. Most likely because she often said that the role resonated with her. She could identify with Medea and she found similarities in her character. Callas said that: “Instead of a boring classical heroine no one was interested in, my Medea became a woman of torrential passion. As a result of my willingness to expose my deepest emotions, this little known opera became a huge box office success.” The production was so successful that the Teatro alla Scala decided to stage this opera during the opening week of the 1953-1954 season. Callas performed in Medea for seven years in total, from 1953-1960. Among those many performances includes one in America. This was the only American performance, at the Dallas Opera House in 1958. Many critics said that she gave an interpretation of the role worthy of Euripides



Post a Comment