I was intrigued and also a little alarmed to see the Telegraph headline “Paul Ryan, Maria Callas and the splendour of custard.” It always hurts to see Callas’s name dragged in the mud, and then: custard? WTF?
Anyhow, this is what the writer claims of Caruso and Callas: “The possessors of the two most famous voices in operatic history were both smokers. Maria Callas made no secret of it: she didn’t mind being photographed with a fag in her hand.”
As far as I know, Callas was never much of a smoker. There is a posed shot of her and di Stefano from the 1950s showing them with beer steins; in the photo, Callas is holding an unlit cigarette. And there is the image in today’s post of Callas with a cigarette during the Medea shoot.
Arianna Stassinopoulos wrote of Callas during the Onassis years: “She never really smoked, though she did have an occasional cigarette when others were smoking around her.”
Was she really more of a smoker than that?