Part of a large group of online local news sites, the Verona Sera headline read:
Verona remembers Maria Callas, a bronze statue will be placed in the Arena
2 August marks the anniversary of the debut of the tenor at the Arena, which occurred 70 years ago
and also 40 years since Callas left us
Later in the day, after a great deal of social media merriment, Callas had her status as a soprano restored.
On 2 August 1947, Maria Callas made not only her debut in Verona but also her Italian début in La Gioconda, conducted by Tullio Serafin. She was 24. It was also the time when she met her future husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini.
Festival Internazionale Scaligero Maria Callas Verona, to mark the occasion, commissioned a larger-than-life statue of Callas from Veronese artist Albano Poli, who designed the Maria Callas Verona prize statuette.
The Maria Callas Verona prize this year went to Gianfranco Cecchele who was the tenor (yes, really a tenor) for the 1965 Norma in Paris with Callas. Former winners are Franco Zeffirelli (2014), Maria Chiara (2015) and Rolando Panerai (2016).
The statue of Maria Callas can be found in Arcolvolo 4 of the Verona Arena.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.