The “Maria Callas Museum” will be housed at 44 Mitropoleos Street, in the old “Royal” Hotel, which still preserves eclectic elements of interwar architecture and is located opposite the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. The hotel was in operation until 1969 and was declared a listed building in 1985. Its renovation works started in the same period, and today it is owned by the Municipality of Athens. The building that will house the new Museum is located in the historic centre of Athens and is adjacent to important landmarks and monuments of the city, as it is part of the tourist routes of Athens.
The collection of the Maria Callas Museum began when the Municipality of Athens started purchasing objects belonging to the great Diva at an auction in Paris in 2000, while later, items from donations and loans were added. The Museum’s permanent collection will consist of Maria Callas’ personal items and objects relating to her and her career in opera. More specifically, the exhibition will include original photographs from her private album, letters received and written by Maria Callas, posters and programmes from her performances, personal items of hers such as garments, accessories and theatre costumes, audiovisual material such as discs and CDs with recordings of her voice, sheet music, books, archival material and works of art inspired by her. However, an essential element of the exhibition is the audiovisual material from her performances and interviews, oral testimonies that enrich the Museum with her own words.
The museological design of the Museum is based on the work of Andromachi Gazi (museologist, President of the Department of Communication and Cultural Media), Erato Koutsoudaki-Gerolympou (architect, museologist) and Alexandros Harkiolakis (Director of the Friends of Music Society). The fundamental element of the museological narrative is the sound and its channelling into the museum space. The voice and speech of Maria Callas will dominate to represent her multifaceted personality through audiovisual stimuli. More specifically, the museum design aims initially to bring the visitor experientially closer to Maria Callas through her voice and performance, as is the case on the second floor, where the theatrical element prevails. The visitor will then discover the soprano through a historical retrospective and the accompanying documents on the first floor of the building.
The Maria Callas Museum aims to provide information about the life and artistic activity of the soprano through a multi-layered narrative, encourage the visitor to understand the unknown aspects of her personality and inspire everyone.