Anecdotes and curiosities
On September 27th, 1950, in his house on Via Durini, Maria Callas met her husband for the first time, the famous maestro Arturo Toscanini, who wanted to meet all of the most famous voices of opera in person. When Callas sang Macbeth, she was accompanied on the piano by an 84-year-old Toscanini. Another meeting in Milan that marked Callas’ life took place in the living room of Wally Toscanini, the maestro’s daughter, in 1951. This was where she met the fashion designer Biki (Elvira Leonardi Bonyeure, Puccini’s granddaughter): Biki would create Callas’ personal style, and Callas brought this Milan-based designer with her studio in Via Senato to the world’s attention.
There is a precise spot on La Scala’s stage where this famous soprano loved to stand while performing the most difficult arias: today this point is still known as the “Callas spot”, and opera buffs are certain that it represents the point from which sound emanates best to the entire hall, boxes and gallery alike.
Teatro La Scala: Where she sang countless times;
Savini Restaurant, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II:
Where “la Diva” dined after performing at La Scala;
Grand Hotel et de Milan:
Where she stayed several times with her husband, Giovanni Battista Meneghini, until they settled in their home in Via Buonarroti;
Pasticceria Cova, Via Montenapoleone:
Where she often drank tea with friends;
Via Buonarroti, 40:
She went to live in a small house with her husband after her most intense engagements with La Scala had passed. She stayed in Milan for some time even after her separation from Meneghini and the beginning of her relationship with
Milan, Istituto dei Tumori:
Where she performed a concert for patients only;
Basilica of S.Eufemia, Piazza S.Eufemia (Corso Italia);
Metropol Cinema, Viale Piave, 24
RAI Television Studios, Corso Sempione;
Tumours Institute, Via Venezian.
In Milan she met and knew many famous personalities: Arturo Toscanini, Luchino Visconti, Biki, Renata Tebaldi (her rival), Franco Zeffirelli, who directed her in 1955 at La Scala in Il turco in Italia by G. Rossini, Aristotele Onassis, with whom she had a long, turbulent affair, Wally Toscanini Castelbarco, Elsa Maxwell, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.
Sources and documents
Castellaneta Carlo, Il Dizionario di Milano: tutta Milano dalla A alla Z, Le Lettere, Firenze 2000.
Enciclopedia Encarta 2000, Microsoft 2000
Enciclopedia Multimediale Rizzoli-Larousse, Rizzoli, Milano 1998
Gage Nicholas, Fuoco greco, Sperling&Kupfer Editori, Milano 2001
Gastel Chiarelli Cristina, Maria Callas, Marsilio, Venezia 1981
Gelli Piero (ed.), Dizionario dell’opera, Baldini & Castoldi, Milano 1996
Meneghini Giovanni Battista, Allegri Renzo (ed.), Maria Callas, mia moglie, Rusconi, Milano 1981.