Opera singer Maria Callas is doodled by Google for her 90th birthday

2 Dec 2013

Maria Callas' 90th birthday celebrated in a Google doodle

Today, Google’s homepage celebrates what would have been the 90th birthday of American-born Greek soprano Maria Callas, considered to be one of the most influential opera singers of the 20th century.

Callas, who was awarded the highest-ranking order of knighthood from the Italian Republic (Commendatore OMRI) was known as La Divina, owing to her wide-ranging talent.

Callas was born in New York City in 1923 but received her musical education in Greece and, later, established her career in Italy. Her life was often as dramatic as the operas she played out on-stage and – between an apparent rivalry with Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi and a love affair with Greek-Argentine shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis – her personal life has drawn as much media attention as her talent.

Callas the artist, though, was acclaimed for her bel canto technique and she performed in the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini, as well as the works of Verdi, Puccini and Wagner. Though her influence continues to modern day, the ‘Callas Sound’ has also been the subject of debate with some commentators claiming that a flawed voice was part of her appeal.

Apple fans might recognise Callas from a 1998 ‘Think Different’ ad campaign, where her image appeared in commercials and on posters.

She died from a heart attack at the age of 53 at her home in Paris on 16 September 1977.

If you missed her doodle appearing on the Google homepage, you can still view it here.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.