In light of the centenary of the birth of the quintessential diva, Maria Callas—an event included among the commemorations observed by UNESCO—, Athens is set to host a series of celebratory cultural events dedicated to the soprano’s life and musical legacy. In addition, there will be two unique screenings of CALLAS-PARIS, 1958, which revisits the soprano’s legendary performance at the Paris Opera in December 1958.

Maria Callas, an American-born Greek soprano (December 2, 1923—September 16, 1977), stands as the most renowned and influential lyric actor of the 20th century. Her exceptional musical training and interpretive mastery transformed opera singing to the extent that a clear distinction is now recognized between before-Callas and after.


Volf Productions, the team behind the award-winning film Maria by Callas, presents Callas, Paris 1958, a full-color 4K Ultra HD restored recording of Callas’ Paris Opéra debut on December 19th, 1958. Following its premiere at this year’s 18th edition of the Rome Film Fest, CALLAS-PARIS, 1958 is being shown in over 40 countries, with screenings in Greek cinemas scheduled for December 2 & 3.

Callas’ 1958 performance was attended by “Le Tout Paris”, including French President Coty, Jean Cocteau, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Chaplin and Brigitte Bardot.

Director and producer Tom Volf explains: ‘In 2021, in a basement in Athens, I made an incredible discovery—the original reels of a historic performance: Maria Callas’ Paris debut. After years of restoration work, I am honored to present this film, not only because it is the first time audiences will ever see a full-color performance by Maria Callas, but also because it allows us to experience what it was like to be in that Opera House in 1958 and spend the night with the greatest opera singer of all time.’

Maria Callas Museum 100 Years Celebration

The City of Athens’ recently inaugurated Maria Callas Museum will celebrate the centenary of the soprano’s birth by welcoming the public from 10am to midnight on December 2, Maria Callas’ birthday. Visitors young and old will be invited to participate in themed educational tours led by the Museum’s expert staff.

Families and children aged 5–12 will be able to delve into the diva’s life and art by exploring her belongings and becoming artists themselves, creating their own exhibition about Callas. Adult thematic exhibitions will also be conducted by musicologists, museologists and academics.

50’s-60’s Celebration Street Event

Kosmos radio station will be creating a unique atmosphere, reviving the sounds and hits of Maria Callas’ era in a street event celebrating the 50’s and 60’s at the pedestrian street behind Maria Callas Museum (Petraki street) from 18.30 through till midnight. During the celebration, Fernet-Branca cocktails will be served inspired by Callas’ favorite drink.

Greek National Opera Tribute to Maria Callas

In honor of the Callas centenary, the Greek National Opera (GNO) will be staging a host of events throughout December. These include:

Mary, Marianna, Maria: The Unsung Greek Years of Callas

On December 2, the GNO will be screening the documentary “Mary, Marianna, Maria: The Uncelebrated Greek Years of Callas” by Vasilis Louras in the Stavros Niarchos Hall. The film delves into the period in which Callas matured both as a woman and an artist, in Athens during World War Two. It also explores the post-1957 years, when the internationally acclaimed diva reestablished her ties with Greece.

UNBOXING CALLAS: An Archival Exploration of the Pyromallis Collection and the GNO Archive

Curated by the artist Vassilis Zidianakis and ATOPOS cvc, this exhibition simulates an open-access archive with which conservators, archivists and researchers are encouraged to engage, unlocking the archival boxes to reveal  narratives, recollections and items associated with Callas. The exploration goes beyond Callas herself to explore  how the singer has continued to serve as an inspiration in the fields of contemporary research, academic study and artistic creation. The exhibition is organized by the GNO in partnership with the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), and will be hosted in the foyer of the NLG between November 26 and January 10.