Maria Callas as Medea in Cherubini’s opera
Maria was performing Medea at La Scala on 11 December 1961. She was not in good voice and during her first act duet with Jason (performed by Jon Vickers), the audience began hissing. Maria ignored the crowd until she reached the point in the text where she denounces Jason with a word: “Crudel!” (Cruel man!). After the first “Crudel!” she stopped singing. She looked out into the crowd and directed her second “Crudel!” directly to the public. She paused and started again with the words “Ho dato tutto a te!” (I gave everything to you!) and shook her fist at the gallery. The audience stopped hissing and Maria received a huge ovation at the end.