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Maria Callas exhibition opens

Royal Opera House exhibition celebrates legendary soprano.

By Cristina Franchi (Former Exhibitions and Heritage Publications Manager)

25 September 2012 at 4.20pm | 4 Comments

A free exhibition celebrating the career of renowned soprano Maria Callas is now open in the Cloakroom Corridor at the Royal Opera House.

Maria Callas and The Royal Opera commemorates the 60th anniversary this year of Maria Callas’s debut with the Covent Garden Opera Company on 8 November 1952. Callas's costumes are comparatively rare as few seem to have survived, and so the Royal Opera House is fortunate to have two in its Collections as well as some accessories.

The costumes on show span Callas’s appearances here, and include the blue and white Norma costume worn for her London debut in Norma in 1952. Also included is the iconic red dress first worn for the new production of Tosca in 1964, in which Callas sang as Tosca alongside Tito Gobbi as Scarpia. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, it is hard to convey just how successful this production was. Callas was so nervous on the opening night, that the director had to forcibly push her onto the stage. The production was recreated in other countries and the images of Callas in the red dress are some of the best known of all the photographs taken of her. Tosca was also the last role she sang at the Royal Opera House in 1965, and so this costume is the last one she worn on stage here. Find out more trivia about Callas's appearances in Tosca.

The Exhibitions team has also installed an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the birth of legendary conductor Georg Solti. The exhibition Georg Solti and The Royal Opera, which is part of worldwide celebrations to mark the Solti 100, also opens on Monday and is free to visit.

Exhibitions can be visited for free during normal daytime opening Monday-Friday, 10am–3.30pm. Before making a special visit, please call +44(0)20 7304 4000 to check that the front of house spaces are open. It is also possible to book guided tours of some of our most special exhibitions. Visit our Exhibitions page for further details.

By Cristina Franchi (Former Exhibitions and Heritage Publications Manager)

25 September 2012 at 4.20pm

This article has been categorised Exhibition, Opera and tagged archive, Collections, exhibition, Franco Zeffirelli, Maria Callas, Norma, ROH Collections, The Royal Opera, Tosca

This article has 4 comments

  1. Isabelle Rossetti responded on 1 October 2012 at 8:15pm Reply

    Until when is the Maria Callas exhibition on display please ?

    • Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media)) responded on 2 October 2012 at 11:23am

      Hi Isabelle,

      The exhibition will be on display until mid-Febuary.

      All the best,


  2. Mme. Callas was more than a gifted singing actress. Above all she was a superb musician. One did not necessarily have to see her live to appreciate her art, her interpretative skill, her musicianship, her acting ability with the voice can all be heard on her recordings. She is greatly missed. Others have tried, but there was only one Callas. Thank you for this exhibit as a tribute to such a great artist.

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