Maria Callas exhibition

Client: Deutsches Theatermuseum
Location: Munich / Germany
Year: 2006
Supervision: Horst Campman


Maria Callas (1923-1977) was one of the great divas of the 20th century. Both her voice and stage presence are legendary. In 1939, the New York-born Greek made her professional debut at the Athens Olympia Theatre and enjoyed her greatest success at La Scala in Milan throughout the 1950s. Until the mid-1960s, she made numerous appearances at the world’s greatest opera houses. She considered her signature role Norma, which she portrayed almost 90 times, somewhat autobiographical. Callas said, “Norma is in many ways like I am. Norma may appear strong, sometimes even brutal, but in reality she is like a lamb that roars like a lion.”

This exhibition focuses on the staging and self-staging of the artist Maria Callas in the operas La Traviata, Tosca, Medea and Norma as well as the film Medea. Splendid costumes, rare pictures, film sequences of Pasolini’s Medea and Franco Zeffirelli’s Tosca as well as numerous audio samples document her unique artistic personality.

The exhibition also provides a detailed picture of the star off stage. The opera star was and remains well known far beyond her own artistic oeuvre. Spectacular cancellations of performances, lawsuits, rivalries and her private life caused sensations. Even today, this diva assoluta inspires not only the world of the opera but also literature and fashion.