• Short Summary

    World famous opera singer. Maria Callas, died in Paris on Friday (16 September), apparently of?

  • Description

    MV: 1959..Maria Callas steps from car with reporters surrounding her and walks to civil court in Brescia, Italy. (THREE SHOTS)

    CU: Italian police look on as Callas leaves court building.

    SV 1968 LONDON: Aristotle Onassis walking through lounge at airport down stairway followed by Jackie Onassis.

    CU 1968 PARIS: Callas talking to people at theatre.

    CU 1973: Callas speaking in London about her comeback as singer.

    MCU: Callas escorted by Giuseppe di Steffano, the Sicilian tenor at Covent Garden, being applauded on stage.

    CALLAS: "Of course nobody really expects what I used to be 20 years ago. No one of us are like we used to be 20 years ago. We lose on one behalf and we gain on other sides, but the English public is famous for always respecting and loving their artists."

    REPORTER: "Do you pause at all to think how many, considering how many years it is since you last sang publically here, how many came to see the Callas legend-almost more than come to hear Callas sing."

    CALLAS: "Well probably yes. Probably, but there are lots of people who really know about singing and they also came to hear the singer. I think that at a certain moment, they have to be pleased also because they can't just applaud the legend, if you don't give them something to... and after all, what is the legend. The public made me. What is a legend."

    Initials JS/2430

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: World famous opera singer. Maria Callas, died in Paris on Friday (16 September), apparently of a heart attack. She was born in New York of Greek parents, and took the world of opera by storm in the years that followed World War Two.

    SYNOPSIS: Miss Callas was an internationally- acclaimed star by 1949 - and her fiery temper quickly gained her as much notoriety as her singing and acting. Impresarios who knew her backstage called her the "Tigress" but to her fans she was the "divine Callas".

    The year after she began divorce proceedings against her husband, Giovanni Meneghini, she met millionaire Greek shipowner, Aristotle Onassis. That was in 1960 and their relationship filled gossip columns for years. Miss Callas successfully sued a French magazine and radio station for saying she had threatened suicide when Onassis married Jacoueline Kenedy in 1968.

    Miss Callas unofficially retired from the stage in 1965, but she returned in 1973. Some critics said her voice was not it had been, but with ten applicants for every seat at London's Festival Hall, the criticism didn't seem to bother her.

    A first audition with La Scala in Milan led to her being rejected as an imperfect vocalist. Later she recalled that iron discipline and constant work took her to the top. She played many leading soprano roles, particularly Belini's Norma, and sang in Rome, Florence, Milan, New York and London. Miss Callas was 53 years old when she died.

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