World’s First Maria Callas Museum Opens its Doors in Athens
The Athens Municipality began collecting items related to Maria Callas in 2000. They purchased their first items in Paris during an international auction. Since then, the collection has been enriched with contributions from various institutions and individuals, including the Maria Callas Hellenic Association and the couple Konstantinos and Victoria Pilarinos. These contributions include both donations and loans offered under agreements signed in 2022 and 2023.
The permanent exhibition is situated on the first and second floors, offering interactive and experiential learning opportunities. The third level houses a space for short-term exhibitions, educational activities, workshops, and musical performances. The ground floor comprises a store and the café/restaurant La Divina.
The recommended visitor’s path begins with taking the elevator to the second floor, exclusively allocated for the “Callas experience.” Guests proceed systematically through three rooms that depict sets from Callas’s famous performances of iconic roles (Norma, Tosca, La Traviata), where they can fully engage with her voice and performance. In the fourth room, they watch a video of Callas teaching the masterclasses she conducted at the Juilliard School in New York in 1971-72.
The exhibit includes Callas’ personal items such as scores, performance costumes, accessories, dresses, as well as programs and posters from her performances, original letters from Callas to third parties, photographs, telegrams, press clippings, audiovisual material performances, interviews, documentaries, and artwork inspired by Callas.
Maria Callas was a Greek-American soprano who is widely regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time. She was known for her powerful voice, her wide range, and her dramatic interpretations of roles such as Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Violetta Valéry.
Callas was born in New York City to Greek parents. She began her singing career in Greece in the late 1940s and quickly rose to international fame. She performed at all of the major opera houses in the world, including La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and the Royal Opera House in London.