From a pattern of her hair to a blue velvet gown she wore after the memorable 1955 efficiency of Verdi’s La Traviata in Milan’s La Scala, guests to Athens can now marvel at objects belonging to opera diva Maria Callas in a brand new museum devoted to the legendary soprano.
Housed in a three-storey neoclassical constructing within the coronary heart of the capital, it opens its doorways on Thursday and coincides with the influential singer’s one centesimal birthday on December 2.
Callas’ prescription glasses, costumes and a pocket book she used to memorise elements of her roles are among the many objects on show, which have been both donated or loaned to the museum.
A sketch of a design by luxurious shoemaker Manolo Blahnik, impressed by the soprano, who grew to become one of many twentieth century’s most iconic opera figures, has been donated by the Maria Callas Greek Society together with hair which the diva’s hairdresser had stored and bought at an public sale.
“Each item contributes to creating a comprehensive image of this astonishing woman,” Kostis Bitzanis, the museum’s mission director informed Reuters.
“Maria Callas is one of the biggest brand names worldwide, she is a woman who became a legend,” he stated.
Born Maria Anna Sophie Cecilia Kalogeropoulos in New York in December 1923 to Greek mother and father, Callas was credited with the virtually single-handed revival of the Italian bel canto vocal method.
On the second flooring of the museum, guests can hearken to elements of Callas’ signature performances, together with the aria Casta Diva from Bellini’s opera Norma, and listen to her educating on the Julliard School in New York in 1971-1972.
“Keep on going … in the proper way, not with the fireworks, not with the easy applause,” Callas tells her college students in a farewell speech in March 1972.
Callas died of a coronary heart assault in 1977 aged 53.
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