Maria Callas in scena – Gli anni alla Scala (Maria Callas on Stage – the La Scala Years) runs from 15 September to 31 January at La Scala's museum, which is housed in the same building as the theatre.
The Italian theatre designer, Margherita Palli, has overseen the exhibition which contains 14 of La Divina's costumes, the necklace and earrings worn during the first act of Visconti's production of La traviata, some of Lila de Nobili's designs for the same production, and a reconstruction of the lost first act costume.
Maria Callas on Stage has many photos from La Scala archive, as well as reviews from the period. The newly remastered live recordings by Warner Classics accompany the visitor around the exhibition.
Visconti was the most important director in her career. His first time directing opera was in 1954 when he directed Callas in La vestale at La Scala: that silk dress is the first exhibit displayed. They went on to work together on La sonnambula, La traviata, Anna Bolena, and Ifigenia in Tauride.
The costumes shown follow Callas slimming down to her Hollywood figure, and many were made by dressmakers in Milan's renowned ateliers of the 1950s. Aside from de Nobili, the who's who of costume designers who created for La Callas includes Piero Tosi, Aleksandr and Nicola Benois, Leonor Fini, and Ebe Colciaghi, all revelling in the opportunity to design for a singer who wore their costumes like an actress; rare in the 1950s.
Lila de Nobili wrote that Maria Callas was,
….freer, as the Greeks often are, because they come from despair.
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.
Beautiful exhibition. With your comments and the ability to “zoom” the photos, I feel as if I have been there. Thank you!
This exhibition was marvelous. I love Maria very much and I feel her like a living person as genius MUST treated – they do not know time and place and do not experience death. I saw the exhibition dedicated to her 2007-2008 It was for me first time at La Scala – very impresiv but I can’t stop my to cry as long I staied there. But in 2017 thanks to Margherita Palli I felt Maria like be there alive as all genius desrve to be presented to the youg persons that didn’t have the chance to see her in live performance. Thank you Mrs Palli for this exhibition and also for the very beatifull scene sets you made for Balanchine Nutcraker – you followed the trace of Benois family.
Oh NO!!!! I’ve just seen the date!!!! 2017!!! Is this exhibition available to see anywhere else?? Oh I’m absolutely destroyed I’ve missed this!! I would fly over from London anytime!! Callas is my absolute zenith!! Please let me know if it’s possible to see anywhere else!! Thank you so much, Marilyn
I’m afraid there was a large Callas exhibition in Verona in 2016 and a smaller one at La Scala a couple of years later. I don’t know of any coming up in Italy – sorry.