Some days ago, on 2nd December, 89 years since Maria Kallas' birth were completed.
This exposition "Una donna, una voce, un mito", after have visited New York, Rome, Mexico, Tokyo, and Athens, has been remaining in Valencia for over a month now. Always postponed my visit, always something else was happening.This week finally the time had come.
The museum of Carmen, "Centre del Carmen", (please, follow this link if you want to know more on the museum) is located in the old city of Valencia, and in fact is an impressing old church, a huge one, if i just make a comparison with the traditional Greek images of the tiny camp churches. I would still never had noticed, i think, if this exhibition was never released there. Although it's qute an adventure to experience it. After passing the entrance, one cloister, some corridors, a second cloister, you find a new building second where you enter the exposition rooms and you hear some first notes of the sorpano's voice, the absolute signal that you are here, at the right point!
The whole exposition is divided in five sections, each one referring to an other option of her personal life.
a. Clothes. What you see here is more her choices on dresses for her performances, the original ones, almost all of them signed with famous signatures, like the Christian Dior dress who magnetized Onasssis, or the Tosca dress for the Covent Graden's 1964 opera performance.
b. Jewelry. Accompanying her public artistic appearances, the jewelry is even more impressing, especially if you think that those are the smallest remaining objects of Kallas' earth presence.
c. Concertos programmes. This section satisfies the fetish history lovers, musicologists, opera passionates, collectors, because those documents function as a glance to the opera´s world through the diva's viewpoint.
d. Personal life. Small furniture and other material objects of everyday life complete the image of an era, and bring us closer to the cultural context of her life in a material sense.
e. But even more that all the above, what emotionally worth is those personal belongings like letters, notes, telegraphs, photos, etc. Here one has the opportunity to be engaged a little bit more with the case.What the eye captures first, is a handwritten love letter to Aristoteles Onassis, after 9 years of an affair, and one week before he gets married with Jacky Kennedy. Tragic and comedy together: next to it a short morning message to her housekeeper on the day necessary stuff (butter and sugar were the only things i got, because of her impressing graphic character.)
Last but not least, the exposition also provides an extended documentary on her. one should have his\her time to sit comfortable, and really enjoy the rich provided material. Here many of her colleagues, partners and other important people of her circle, talk a lot about her, offering bits of her world. "Do we really know the woman, the real person?", one of her colleagues is wondering. "Ï don´t think so", he answers by himself. Many unanswered questions have been left, having to do with her personal choices, her life as a human being.
Many people claim that her life was like a romantic opera. Being there at the exhibition, one can really remain for many hours, and after the end, he would feel like being in one of her performances. The documentary is a very long one, containing rare material, like interviews with her, talks on the uniqueness of her voice, unknown details of her artistic work. A rich experience who does not let you unaffected.
For some more impressions on Maria Callas here is an announcement for the opening of the exposition at El Pais Spanish newspaper, and, also, a different kind of knowledge about the soprano, from an other blog of an opera passionate, a more specialized one!