Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Marias Callas' tomb

You all know the famous opera singer Maria Callas, right? Well today I was listening to one of her arias (La Mamma Morta from Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano) and I remembered I took a photo of her tomb in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery (well it's actually just a plaque, as her ashes were actually spread in the Aegean sea when she died) . You can also see the graffiti left by her admirers from around the world.

If you want to listen to La Mamma Morta, click on the little arrow :


  1. The opera "Andrea Chenier" is seriously underrated in the repertoire and deserves to be performed far more often than it is. Although I was never a fan of Callas' voice, the selection you've chosen clearly illustrates why she received such acclaim -- more perhaps for her dramatics than her vocal technique. Bravo to you, and brava to her!

  2. ... and speaking of Pere Lachaise Cemetery, when I was in Paris in November 2001, I hunted without success for the tomb of one of my favorite composers, Jacques Fromental Halevy. He's best known for the opera "La Juive," which has received a much-deserved revival over the past few years thanks to the efforts of star tenor Neil Shicoff. Perhaps you could honor us with a photo of Halevy's burial site the next time you're "hanging around" over there?

  3. Superbe Eric!! I remember the first time I saw that the niche was empty...the ashes gone!! Apparently it was her wish to be in the Aegean and finally her family agreed to that when the fans returned the ashes!! Some fan club ehhh???

    **Paul...Jacques Fromental Halevy isn't in Pere Lachaise...he is in Cimetiere de Montmartre. Here is a link to a photo of his tomb.


  4. I think the grafitti is charming in a strange way.

  5. Thanks for the link for the virtual tour of the cemetery.

  6. Eric, thanks so much for including the stream of the aria. The cello and her voice and the strings together are quite moving, even to one unfamiliar with the story line/music of this opera.

    The fans kidnapped her ashes until the family would carry out her wishes??? Amazing! I must say it bugs me when "fans" leave their indelible calling cards on memorials and tombs like this. It seems there must be a less cheesy way to honor someone whose work you've appreciated and memory you wish to honor. It's a pop culture phenom that won't go away, I'm sure. I just wish maybe a designer would make a style of public memorial for the famous so that people compelled to write a note have designated space for this sort of thing and it doesn't end up looking like a school kid's autographed yearbook.

    I'm going to have to hunt down Jimi's grave this week . . .wonder what I'll find THERE? Yikes! ;^)

  7. Thanks Eric, for this great aria and a powerful example of Callas' genius. Too bad she wasted a good portion of her life on an undeserving man!

  8. Hmmmm Metaphysical mama....tell us more? I'm not at all up to date on Maria Callas.

  9. Uh, I love Maria Callas since I heard her voice and that very aria La Mamma Morta on a "Philadelphia"-movie's soundtrack on early 90's... And I was something like 13 years old then!

    Another my favourite is L'amour est un oiseau rebelle.. oooohhohhhohhohooooo

    I visited a Parisian cemetery once but saw only Sartre's stone. Loved too the catacombes near to Montmartre.

    Waiting to see your photo from the catacombes..? ;)

    Greetings from Helsinki,

  10. I had no clue that she had died at such a young age (basically, at what is my present age!). I know nothing about her, except for her involvement with Aristotle Onassis.

    And thanks for the audio clip, Eric. It really makes me want to listen to Opera again.

  11. Personally, I think it's pretty cool that people "signed" her tombstone even if it is a little cheesy.

    Cute audio clip on the post, nice touch Eric, real nice! Thanks :)

  12. Very nice indeed. And so many famous tombs in this cemetery, looks like one could make a perelachaise-dailyphoto...;-))

    Reminds me of the mythical Eva
    Perron's tomb in Buenos Aires. And it is amazing how you can feel the grandeur around these places.

    PS: There is a very interesting article about graffiti today in le monde.,1-0,36-802240,0.html

  13. I havent heard of her but I like Andre Bocelli =)

  14. I love her, she had such a sence of making the "Librettttto" (quote) come to life in her performances. her voice may not have been appealing to some but it made the character come to life like I´ve never seen before (and after, I might add)
    Thanks Eric for this wonderful pic!!
    from a true opera-callas lover and semi pro-singer!!

  15. I have always loved the voice of Maria Callas. She can get me to cry faster than anybody else. I bet if she had sung the alphabet song, it would make my eyes fill up as well.

    Pere Lachaise Cemetery has always been the best cemetery ever. I would love to be buried there, but somehow I don't think that is possible.

  16. Michael - She was madly in love with Onasis and was crushed when he married Jackie. Pretty much gave up her career for him and then didn't sing much after he left.

  17. Oh yeah, now I remember who you were referring to. Thanks!

  18. We saw this last summer. I always find graffiti disrespectful regardless of hearts and luv. I loved listening to her.

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