Divas

L.A. Exhibition Pays Tribute to Maria Callas

Thirty-three years after her death, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Los Angeles is paying tribute to the rare talent of Maria Callas. In the exhibition, Maria Callas: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth, the institute paints a picture of a soprano who changed opera from the day she first performed La Gioconda in 1947 and once received 27 curtain calls, spanning more than 40 minutes. But Callas’ gift came at a price. Throughout her career, she struggled madly with weight and anxiety. At one time, her 5-foot-7 frame carried nearly 190 pounds. When she died isolated in Paris at age 53, she weighed less than 120 pounds. But throughout her career, even as her voice deteriorated over 595 performances, she commanded opera houses in some of the most stunning costumes ever made and many of them are on display at this exhibit.