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This Week in History: September 16th to 22nd

September 16, 2022

SEPTEMBER 16TH:

On this day opera legend Maria Callas died of a heart attack at age 53 in her Paris apartment. The newspaper The Guardian, reported Callas’ death the following day, September 17, 1977: “Maria Callas, the opera singer who put as much passion into her life as into her art, died in her Paris flat yesterday of a heart attack. She was 53. The ‘divine Callas’ was the international symbol of prima donnas, as much for her incomparable voice as for her tantrums and her long love affair with the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis.”

Born Maria Kalogeropoulos in New York City in 1923 to Greek immigrants, she went to Athens at 14 with her mother and her sister after her parents separated. She was accepted into the National Conservatorie, and won a prize in 1939 for her stage debut in Cavalleria Rusticana.

After returning to the United States in 1944 in the midst of World War II, the 21 year-old Callas turned down the lead in Madama Butterfly, already preoccupied with her weight, thinking herself too heavy to play a fragile 14 year-old.

A stormy marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini followed, during which her career, guided by him, soared. A torrid affair with Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, a friend of her husband’s, broke up the marriage, but after a few years of a whirlwind relationship, he cast her aside to marry Jaqueline Kennedy. Devastated and already experiencing voice problems, Callas became addicted to diet pills and sleeping pills, and grew very reclusive in her later years.

She is regarded by many as the greatest soprano ever to perform, and by most at least among the very elite.

SEPTEMBER 18TH:

On this day in 1964, King Constantine II of Greece married the Danish Princess Anne-Marie (two weeks after her 18th birthday).

SEPTEMBER 19TH:

On this day in 1982, Eleni Daniilidou, the Greek tennis player, was born in Chania, Crete. She is considered as one of the best Greek tennis players of the Open Era, winning five singles titles and three doubles titles on the WTA Tour. In 2003, she reached the mixed-doubles final of the Australian Open, making her the first Greek player to have reached a Grand Slam final. Her highest singles ranking is world No. 14, making her the only female tennis player from Greece to have reached the top 20. No male tennis player had achieved this until Stefanos Tsitsipas reached 15th place on August 13, 2018. By beating Justine Henin in the first round of the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, she became the first player to defeat a reigning French Open champion in the first round of Wimbledon.

SEPTEMBER 21ST

On this day Zak Kostopoulos was killed on a busy street near Omonoia Square, Athens during the day on 21 September 2018, first beaten by civilians and later by the police. The victim, a LGBT rights activist in Greece, died on the way to the hospital.

SEPTEMBER 22ND

On this day Kostas Kaiafas was born 22 September 1974 in Nicosia, He is a Cypriot former football player and manager.

As a player, he was a midfielder for Omonia and Alki Larnaca. He was the captain of Omonia and the second longest servant in the history of the club, only five appearances short of becoming Omonoia’s all-time record holder. He is the son of Sotiris Kaiafas, winner of 1975/76 European Golden Boot.

 

 

 

 

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