Maria Callas was probably the most famous soprano of the 20th century. She also lived quite a tragic live, which may be the thing to do when you are an opera star. But I know her primarily as the star of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film, Medea. There will be more about that elsewhere. For now, let us focus on opera. She is widely considered to have changed opera in a major way. Before her, it was mostly a musical thing. She introduced (or reintroduced) drama to it. And that, rather than having a great voice (opinions differ), is what set her apart.
She really came to prominence in the title role of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, Norma. So here she is performing the most famous aria from the opera, “Casta diva.” To be honest, I don’t know why there is any question about her voice — she’s amazing: