A Maria Callas archive of correspondance

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Lot 5453
A Maria Callas archive of correspondance

Sold for US$ 8,225 inc. premium

Collector's Auction

22 May 2005, 10:00 PDT

Los Angeles

An archive of correspondance of Maria Callas
This lot features a collection of correspondence and other materials of Maria Callas sent over a period of nearly twenty years to musicologist and Knopf editor Herbert Weinstock and his partner, Ben Meiselman, including the following:
1. 14 Autograph Letters Signed (“Maria”), 26 pp, most 4to, various places including New York, Milan, and Paris, March 6, 1958 to December 23, 1975, to Herbert Weinstock and Ben Meiselman, most with original autograph transmittal envelope, light creasing and toning, otherwise fine.
2. 9 Typed Letters Signed (“Maria” and “Maria Battista”), 9 pp, 4to and 8vo, various places including London, Milan, and Paris, June 16, 1958 to May 4, 1976, to Herbert Weinstock and Ben Meiselman, most with original transmittal envelope (two autograph), light creasing and toning, otherwise fine.
3. 4 Signed Cards (“Maria,” “Maria Battista,” and “Maria Meneghini Callas”), 4 pp, 12mo, Milan, January 7, 1958 to December 28, 1959, being holiday cards, three with autograph inscriptions by Callas, three with original transmittal envelopes, some soiling to envelopes.
Present also are six 8 by 10 inch silver gelatin prints, publicity photos of Callas, a collection of snapshots, telegrams, and copies of an unpublished article on Callas by Weinstock.

Maria Callas is universally acclaimed as the greatest female opera singer of the 20th century. Her greatest roles were Medea, Lucia di Lammamoor, Anne Bolyn, La Traviata, and Tosca. In the 1960s her talent was eclipsed by the notoriety of her affair with Aristotle Onassis, and she was devastated when, in 1968 he left her to marry Jackie Kennedy.

Herbert Weinstock was a well known musicologist and editor at Knopf from 1943 until his death in 1971. She writes on September 3, 1958: “Here I am at the ‘Scala’ studying like mad the ‘Pirata’ with rather a vague sense of let down. It really isn’t a wonderful piece. It starts a lovely theme and then it always remains half way or no way at all. Well, anyway—we’ll have to work even more for a success. / As for my dates I’m afraid I can say nothing. The ‘Scala’ has a lousy habit of not knowing even ten days before a performance when it will take place. It is a most vexing habit….” A year later she reports of an upcoming trip to view the competition. From September 2, 1959: “Sunday we’re going for two days to London to see and hear Lucia in the Covent Garden new production. Regista Zeffirelli—Maestro Serafin—Tenor Gebin or whatever his name is—and soprano Joan Sutherland. I think she will do it well. She has studied after my way of singing … I go to see it also because they want me to do it in June and if I like the production and, between us, the soprano is not better than me, I will.” The letters also discuss troubles with her husband, particularly during their nasty divorce. In 1961 she writes that her voice is better than ever, and “if only Meneghini would stop hounding me in court & newspapers (his mania remember is publicity!) I would be a very happy soul indeed.

Provenance: From the estate of Herbert Weinstock.
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