Callas, Maria

BORN 2 Dec 1923, New York City, New York - DIED 16 Sep 1977, Paris
BIRTH NAME Calogeropoulos, Maria
CAUSE OF DEATH heart attack
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 87 (colombarium, case 16258 (empty)))

American born daughter of Greek parents. In 1937 her mother returned to Greece with her two daughterts, leaving her husband behind. Maria received her musical education in Athens. Maria Trivella and Elvira de Hodelgo were her teachers. She debuted in 1942 as Beatrice in "Boccaccio" by Franz von Suppé.

In 1945 she joined her father in the USA. She was offered a beginner's contract there, but she turned it down. She left for Italy and in Verona she was courted by the older industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini, whom she married in 1949. She sang in Venice in 1949 and at La Scala in Milano in 1951. In 1954 she made her first appearance in the USA in Chicago. The press widely published her difficult relationship with her mother and her rivalry with Renata Tebaldi.

She had always been plump, but around 1954 she lost a lot of weight and suddenly she was regarde as strikingly beautiful. A few years later her voice started to decline, possibly because of breath-support problems. In 1957 she met Aristotle Onassis and they started an affair. In 1959 she left her husband. In 1968 Onassis left her for Jacqueline Kennedy. Callas spent her last years in Paris where she died from a heart attack in 1977.

After her death the urn containing her ashes was interred at Père Lachaise, but soon afterwards it was stolen. After it was retrieved. Her ashes were scattered over the Aegean Sea, according to her own wishes. The empty niche at the columbarium at Père Lachaise remains.


The niche of Maria Callas at the columbarium at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (06 Mar 1995)


• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
Maria Callas - Wikipedia

Callcott, Augustus Wall

Published: 11 May 2008
Last update: 25 Apr 2022