Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maria Callas Biography: Difficult Years

Maria Callas tries unsuccessfully to find work but continues strenuous vocal practice to perfect her technique; meets agent Eddie Bagarozy. She accepts an engagement to sing in Turandot in Chicago in January 1947 with cast of celebrated European singers in a new company to be founded by Bagarozy and Ottavio Scotto, an Italian impressario.

1947 - January
The Chicago company goes bankrupt a few days before its scheduled opening performance. A member of the company (the Italian bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni) introduces Callas to Giovanni Zenatello, who is in the USA to find singers for the 1947 Verona Opera Festival; he engages Callas to sing in La Gioconda.

1947 - 27th June
Callas arrives in Naples and goes the next day to Verona to begin rehearsals; in Verona she meets Giovanni Battista Meneghini, a wealthy Italian industrialist and opera lover, 28 years her senior.

1947 - 2nd August
Makes her Italian début in the Arena at Verona in La Gioconda conducted by Tullio Serafin. The performances are successful enough but Callas makes no special impression and the expected offers of further work do not materialise.
La Gioconda (La Scala, 1952)                 
1947 - 30th December
Maria Callas sings Isolde in Italian under Serafin at La Fenice in Venice; this leads to further engagements in Italy, mainly in Turandot.
Maria Callas as Norma
1948 - 30th November
In Florence, Callas sings Norma for the first time: this is the opera she will eventually perform more than any other during her career.