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Maria Callas Opera Academy In Her Old Apartment Approved By Greece

By Maria Jean Sullivan m.sullivan@classicalite.com on Sep 24, 2014 08:46 PM EDT

The now-dilapidated house where opera legend Maria Callas lived from 1940-45 is set to become an opera school itself, approved by Greece.

Dubbed the Maria Callas Opera Academy, the project was a long-term goal of soprano Vasso Papantoniou and her husband, writer Vassilis Vassilikos. Yesterday at a gala concert, the artistic director of the Greek National Opera Myron Michailidis announced the organization would support the construction plans.

Callas was living in the apartment at age 18 with her mother. In February of 1941 she made her professional debut as Beatrice in Suppé’s operetta Boccaccio. A year later in August she sang her first Tosca followed by the role of Marta in Eugen d’Albert's Tiefland at the Olympia Theatre. And two years after that, she performed Leonore in Greek in a production of Fidelio at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Designed by architect Costas Kitsikis and built in 1925, the building is considered an important example of an apartment building at the time. The building is now considered a historical monument, under the law for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage.

An earthquake in 1999 damaged the building. This past year the building was sealed off by police as unsafe. Now, the owners and the NAT Merchant Seamen’s Fund have agreed that the City of Athens Municipality can manage the building and apply for EU Community Support Framework funding in 2015.

What’s more? A Maria Callas Museum is set to open in Athens in 2015.

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TagsMaria Callas, Maria Callas Opera Academy, Greece