In this world which seems to be more or less dominated by rock and roll, there are other wonderful musical genres such as opera. The opera gave birth to the term diva which is short for divina or goddess. If an opera star got the title of a diva she was well-known, liked and popular. She also knew that she was at the top and the best. One such lovely diva was the great soprano Maria Callas and she became one of the most popular and important figures in the opera world in the postwar era. Her many fans loyally gave her the title of “La Divina”. Tragically she was only 53 when she died on September 16, 1977, from a heart attack.
Maria Callas was born in 1923 in New York City at which time she was Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou. Along with her siblings, the family returned to their mother’s native Athens, Greece in 1937 when Callas was 14 years old. In Greece, she spent the war years studying music and performing professionally in order to help support her family. Finally, in the late 1940s, Callas returned to the U.S. Callas became popular and gained a large audience in the late 1950s. She had a most dramatic voice and was a real stage presence with intense emotion. Critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic gifts.