Google is honoring what would have been the 90th birthday of Maria Callas (1923-1977) with a celebratory Doodle. The search engine's illustration shows the New York-born Greek soprano on a stage while draped in a flowing dress and jewels.
WQXR's late George Jellinek once described Callas as an “ambitious, indomitable woman” who had both “fanatical admirers and equally ardent detractors." In her short but meteoric career, she was most notable for bringing a commitment and intensity to her dramatic portrayals that was nearly unprecedented at the time. By the late 1950s, her voice developed a wobble which grew worse in the following years. But her impact on popular culture was already established and she has since been the inspiration for numerous tribute albums, films and a successful Broadway musical.
On Tuesday, Fred Plotkin will offer an appreciation of Callas from Paris, the city where she died in 1977. In the meantime, above is an archival 1977 episode of The Vocal Scene featuring an interview with Callas.