Tropic of Callas

In 1956, columnist and professional hostess Elsa Maxwell — then one of café society’s most important opinion-makers — fell under the spell of Maria Callas. An excerpt from a new biography of Maxwell by SAM STAGGS traces the brief trajectory of the unlikely friendship between two twentieth-century legends.

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Courtesy of Sam Staggs
Elsa Maxwell was seventy-five when she met Maria Callas. After Callas’s debut at the Met, on October 29, 1956, in Norma, Elsa’s avid anticipation — this was, after all, the great event of the season —...

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