In September 1957, Maria Callas taped an interview in Milan with a Mr. Rodrini for broadcast in the United States. This clip includes about half of the interview, including her famous “Rivals I have not” pronouncement.
The interview came only days after Callas’s supposed Sonnambula cancellation at the Edinburgh Festival and around the time when she withdrew from half her scheduled performances at the San Francisco Opera; the company then fired her from the remaining dates. (One of the operas she was to have sung was Macbeth, which also figured in her “firing” from the Metropolitan Opera.)
Before Edinburgh, Callas had been diagnosed as suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” and she certainly sounds exhausted here—as well as defensive and massively narcissistic, egocentric, and self-important (like many artists). That said, was she wrong in saying that she had no rivals?
Between Edinburgh and the San Francisco to-do, After this interview was taped (but before the San Francisco to-do, I think), Callas attended a party given by Elsa Maxwell in Venice where she met Aristotle Onassis for the first time.