A glimpse of a legend – Maria Callas exhibition

A glimpse of a legend – Maria Callas exhibition

Just over fifty years since Maria Callas”™ historic debut at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the spirit of “La Divina” returns to the City of Angels at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Cultural Institute/IIC) in the exhibition Maria Callas: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth and book release The Young Maria Callas, celebrating the greatest opera singer of the twentieth century. This exhibit is free to the public and is currently running at the IIC in Westwood until April 23, 2010.

An impressive collection of Maria Callas”™ historic stage costumes, stunning jewels, rare documents, books and letters passionately gathered over many years by Bruno Tosi, President of the Associazione Maria Callas, as well as photographs lent by the Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy, will be exhibited at the IIC in an installation created by Barton Myers Associates and Sussman/Prejza & Co.

This elegant exhibition is a must for all lovers of the arts, culture, opera, fashion, and design. The show will also include a special screening of the documentary BIOGRAPHY®: Maria Callas courtesy of the BIO. channel. Part of the exhibition will then travel to Venice, Italy to be installed in the soon to be inaugurated Maria Callas Museum at Scuola del Cristo, San Marcuola-Cannaregio.

At the heart of The Young Maria Callas is her previously unpublished diary full of her dreams as a young woman and complemented by the reminisces of friends who knew her well through her triumphs and struggles. This book is published with the support of all the Italian Cultural Institutes in the United States (San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, and New York).

“In thinking of Maria Callas,” Plácido Domingo has said, “I have only one regret: being too late to have had the experience of singing with her.”

On opening night of the exhibiton, James Conlon, LA Opera”™s Richard Seaver Music Director, gave a special lecture entitled: Maria Callas and Richard Wagner: A Surprising Couple, on March 15, 2010.

Following the lecture, Mr. Conlon received the IIC Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding lifelong activity and dedication to the arts.

Conlon says, “Maria Callas was already one of the heroines of my youth when I had the great fortune to meet her in the final year of my studies at the Juilliard School. Having watched me rehearse a production of La Bohème, she recommended to the president that I replace the conductor who had withdrawn. Her intervention at a critical moment brought about the break, which in essence initiated my professional life. Her impact on my life, both artistic and personal, has been immense.”

Francesca Valente, IIC Director comments, “We like to think that the great unforgettable soprano belongs to Italy, as our country gradually transformed her from a shy, insecure Greek-American girl, born in New York, to a groundbreaking artist and sophisticated diva under the magic wand of the legendary director Luchino Visconti. The truth is that Maria Callas doesn”™t belong to the United States, Greece or Italy, but to the entire world. Her legacy is universal.”

Elisabeth Fotiadou, Consul General of Greece, agrees: “Maria Callas combined an impressive bel canto technique with great dramatic skills. This exhibition opens a door to the magic world of opera, which Maria Callas conquered earning the title of La Divina.”

Maria Callas: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth is organized by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy and the Consulate General of Greece, with Associazione Culturale Maria Callas, the Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy, LA Opera, Patina V and designer Juan Carlos Malpeli, under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs and with the support of Frank Mancuso and the Italian Heritage Culture Foundation.

The exhibition is free and open to the public until April 23, 2010. Monday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm. Friday from 10am to 5pm. Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles

Galleria Spazio Italia
1023 Hilgard Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)
Tel. (310) 443-3250


Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Cultural Institute)
The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) of Los Angeles, directed by Francesca Valente, is one of five government cultural agencies established in the United States by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Founded in 1984, the Institute acts as a cultural bridge between Italy and the US, in a multifaceted perspective. IIC is a center for cultural and academic activities, a school of Italian language and culture, and a center for art exhibitions, film screenings and videos. It promotes the translation of Italian authors by encouraging local publishers and makes the public aware of Italian artists, as well as literary contests and awards.

Report by Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.



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