In Maria by Callas, we witness the talent and drama that surrounded the career and life of one of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century: Maria Callas. Born and raised in New York and pushed into music at an early age, Callas, along with her mother and sister, moved back to Greece just as she began high school. With the outbreak of World War II, the move became permanent, and she would remain in Greece (and later, Italy) to further her musical development.
With her increasing fame, Callas developed a reputation as a “diva” among the media, who intensely covered her various personal as well as professional issues, although the film (based on her notes and memoirs) indicates that much of this reputation was due to the strong-arm tactics used by her husband and manager, Giovanni Battista Meneghini.
The film also covers her on and off romance with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, whom she met in 1957 just as her own marriage was ending. We learn how devastated she was to learn of Onassis’ marriage to the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy, and how they somehow continued their relationship afterwards.
While the film would benefit from some tighter editing, as the various performance footage occasionally seems to run a bit long, it is a worthwhile document of her life and career; one that both long-term fans as well as opera neophytes should enjoy.