Maria Callas: The Tigress & The Lamb (Robson Books)

Hers was the archetypal tale of the ugly duckling who with sheer willpower and courage of conviction transformed herself into the most beautiful of swans. Maria Calogeropoulos, the shy awkward daughter of Greek immigrants, rose like a shooting star to become the greatest operatic dica of the 20th century.

By applying the experiences and emotions of her own troubled life, Callas was able to climb inside the skin of each of her heroines and bring these often wretched women to life in a unique way.

Yet Callas's greatest role was herself, the temperamental diva whose tantrums and walk-outs were almost as sensational as her entrances, the condummate professional who had no patience with time-wasters or second-raters, the voluptuous siren whose ability to seduce brought her a series of relationships which were destined to be doomed. Oscar, the enemy soldier so cruelly wrenched from her. Ross-Lemeni and Mangliveras, the opera stars who used her, only to find the tables turned on themselves. Meneghini, the man who fashioned her career and married her, only to discover he could not tame the tigress. Visconti, Bernstein and Pasolini, homosexuals she attempted to 'cure'...and the greatest love of her life, Aristotle Onassis, whose death set her on a rapid downward spiral.

Off and on the stage, Maria Callas was the Sacred Goddess. This is her story.