A recent announcement by the Greek Ministry of Culture, the centennial of Maria Callas' birth, will be celebrated by UNESCO in 2023.
Since 1956, UNESCO has participated in national celebrations of historical anniversaries and renowned persons to give them international relevance.
The anniversaries shall only involve posthumously selected individuals of genuinely worldwide renown.
Furthermore, to accurately represent the organization's principles, beliefs, cultural variety, and universality, these individuals must be unquestionably well-known outside the limits of their nation.
The official inclusion of Maria Callas’ birth anniversary follows Greece’s 2020 proposal to UNESCO and is supported by Italy and France.
“Maria Callas was a soprano who is today seen as one of the most remarkable opera singers of the 20th century. She was named “La Divina” for her great musical talent and spent most of her life between Greece, the United States of America and Italy,” Greece’s application document to UNESCO says.
The application adds that “Leonard Bernstein even called her ‘the Bible of Opera’ and the ‘Opera News’ wrote: “Nearly thirty years after her death, (…) she is still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists”.”
Commenting on Maria Callas’ legacy, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said that the soprano’s “contribution to the opera world was revolutionary, not just because of her vocal perfection, but because her performative precision and passion made her recitals historical”.
The Culture Ministry, in collaboration with the UNESCO National Committee and the Permanent Delegation of Greece to UNESCO, will organise the celebratory events honouring the famed Greek soprano.
A list of ministerial supervised bodies such as the Greek National Opera, the State Orchestra of Athens, the Athens Concert Hall, the Athens Festival, the Athens Conservatory, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, the Thessaloniki Film Festival and Momus, will participate in the program.
The celebration will include performances, opera galas, exhibitions, tributes, publications, and educational programs, which will soon be announced in detail.
Maria Callas was born on December 2, 1923.