12 pictures that prove Maria Callas was the most glamorous opera star of all time

21 September 2017, 14:10

Maria Callas at a press conference in 1958

Maria Callas, who died 40 years ago this month, was – and still is – one of the most famous opera singers to have ever lived. She was also one of the most glamorous stars of her time, and led a life that proved to be as dramatic as any of the characters she played on stage.

Maria Callas was born in 1923 began her career at the age of 18 when she performed the title role in Puccini’s opera Tosca. It’s a role she would go on to make her own.

She went on to perform in opera houses around the world and recorded operas by Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti and many more.

Maria became one of the world’s first international celebrities, especially after she began her affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1959. The paparazzi couldn’t get enough of her.

She sang for the last time in public in 1965 and then retired from public life. She died in 1977.

To celebrate her life, Warner Classics has released a 42-CD box-set of her remastered recordings – find out more here

Maria Callas' unforgettable life – in pictures

Maria Callas at a party in Venice, 1957  

Maria Callas at a Party in Venice in 1957

Credit: AKG/Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche

Maria Callas in her dressing room, preparing for a performance of Alceste in Milan

Maria Callas

Credit: Erio Piccagliani

Maria Callas as Ifeginia at Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Maria Callas

Credit: Erio Piccagliani/Teatro alla Scala

Maria Callas and Leonard Bernstein backstage in 1955

Maria Callas

Credit: Erio Piccagliani

Maria in the role of Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn)

Maria Callas

Credit: Erio Piccagliani, Teatro alla Scala

Maria Callas: a portrait

Maria Callas

Credit: Tully Potter Collection

Maria Callas arriving at Berlin airport in 1959

Maria Callas arriving in Berlin in 1959

Credit: AKG images/Ulltstein Bild

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis in 1962

Maria Callas with Aristotle Onassis

Credit: Ullstein Bild/ArenaPAL

Maria Callas at a press conference in Rome, 1958

Maria Callas at a press conference in 1958

Credit: AKG images/ Ullstein Bild

Maria Callas outside the Ritz in Paris, 1958

Maria Callas in the Ritz hotel

Credit: Roger Viollet/ArenaPAL

Maria signing autographs with Aristotle Onassis in 1957

Maria Callas signing autographs

Credit: AKG/Archivio Mario De Biasi distribuito da Mondadori Portfolio