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Opera diva Maria Callas museum opens in Athens on centenary

The first of its kind in the world

26 October, 12:33

(ANSA-AFP) - ATHENS, OCT 26 - A quarter of a century in the making, Greece's capital Athens on Thursday opens a museum honouring legendary soprano Maria Callas, billed as the first of its kind in the world. Designed to mark the centenary of her birth, the museum showcases over 1,300 exhibits including Callas's school scrapbook, inscribed books and sheet music, opera dresses and photographs, organisers said. "The great diva, Maria Callas, returns home," Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said Wednesday at a media tour of the venue. "We are very proud of this first museum that combines technology and lived experience," he said. A listed four-storey building from the 1920s that previously housed a hotel, the custard-coloured museum near central Syntagma Square took over a decade to complete at a cost of 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million). The collection began 24 years ago, when the city acquired some Callas items at a Paris auction. "This is a museum for all the senses," said Konstantinos Dedes, one of the project supervisors. The tour begins on the second floor, where visitors step onto a forest scene as Callas -- silhouetted on a stage at the back wall -- sings an aria from Bellini's opera Norma. It was one of the defining performances of an illustrious career spanning more than three decades which saw Callas dubbed "La Divina" -- the divine. (ANSA-AFP).

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