The Callas Imprint

A Centennial BiographySophia Lambton


This new biography, published to mark the centennary of Maria Callas’ birth, is extensively researched from 3395 sources spanning 80 years across 21 countries taking the readers through the singer’s on- and offstage scenes, escorting them through the confounding double life of all performers. Containing new interviews and hitherto unpublished material, new light is cast on one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Signed by the author.






Seductress, villainess, and victor, queen and crouching slave, she is a gallery of guises instrumentalists would kill to engineer … made by a single voice. But while her craftsmanship has stood the test of time, Callas’ image has contested defamation at the hands of dirt-diggers and opportunists: saboteurs of beauty. Twelve years in the making, this voluminous labour of love explores the singer with the reverence she dealt her heroines. The Callas Imprint: A Centennial Biography reaps never-before-seen correspondence and archival documents worldwide to illustrate the complex of their multi-faceted creator – closing in on her self-contradictions, self-descriptions, attitudes and habits with empathic scrutiny. It swivels readers through the singer’s on- and offstage scenes and flux of fears and dreams … the double life of all performers. Signed by the author.





About the Author

Sophia Lambton became a professional classical music critic at the age of seventeen when she began writing for Musical Opinion, Britain’s oldest music magazine. Since then she has contributed to The Guardian, Bachtrack, musicOMH, BroadwayWorld, BBC Music Magazine and OperaWire, and conducted operatic research around the world for The Callas Imprint: A Centennial Biography. This richly detailed account of Maria Callas’ life was published to coincide with her one hundredth birthday in December 2023.


List of Illustrations
Prologue: Break normality
1. Volupuous intoxication
2. A sort of straitjacket
3. Strings of the heart and the mind
4. Thick as molasses
5. Like going to church
6. In a room with little light
7. Everything seems a dense fog
8. Extreme poetry
9. Chantilly
10. A human note
11. Pure stage
12. Being conscientious
13. Little checking machines
14. Like a signature
15. Consciously watching
16. Redimensioning
17. The ‘intangible’
18. Espèce de vapeur
19. Inside is your mirror
20. Calculate in the dark
21. The illusion of a better world
22. Carte blanche
23. Beauty is truth
Selected Bibliography


A book for opera fans and music lovers in general, The Callas Imprint is a multi-faceted, in-depth examination of an extraordinary woman and an important contribution to the literature and legend of Maria Callas, presented in elegant, informative, and candid prose.
Frances Wilson –

There’s no padding in this deeply researched book. It surveys what feels like every twist and turn in the great operatic soprano’s life and career.
Dr. Ralph P. Locke, Professor Emeritus at the Eastman School of Music – The Arts Fuse

Is it fair to measure a biography against its subject? In this case, yes. This book resembles Callas’ masterful ease on stage, the artistic precision-passion balance she manifests, a reward of the many overtime rehearsal hours for which Callas was often criticized by co-stars … The result archives nearly everything ever documented about and is as full-bodied, that is, polished as well as unvarnished, as Maria Callas.
Mari Carlson – Midwest Book Review

A triple decryption – biographical, artistic and psychological … This work is not just one more book about this overexposed subject; quite the opposite – it finally completes our understanding.
Christophe Rizoud – Forum Opéra

Sophia Lambton’s meticulously researched, intense, lyrical magnum opus challenges the myths surrounding Maria fabricated by the press. This erudite biography doesn’t just explore her life. Lambton shines a spotlight on Callas’ craft critically evaluating the opera star’s singing with consummate care and precision down to the minutest detail and vocal technique behind each aria and dramatic role.
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