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The Milanese opera house, where she first performed in 1951 and which became like a second home to her, is paying homage to the world’s most famous soprano with a series of events and exhibits. Starting Sept. 14, the theater’s museum will play host to “I Costumi di Scena,” an exhibition of Callas’ stage costumes. And on Sept. 16, the day Callas passed away in Paris, La Scala will open its doors to the public for three screenings of Philippe Kohly’s film, Callas. (The free tickets can be booked from Sept. 8 to 15 at the Biglietteria Serale.)
Meanwhile, the diva’s equally legendary off-stage existence will be on show with a collection of rare photos at the Ridotto dei Palchi Arturo Toscanini. As her many devotees know, Callas’ life was not without drama, and an aura of mystery has always surrounded her. Born Maria Sophie Cecilia Kalogeropoulos in New York in 1923, the future star’s Greek father, George, changed the complicated family surname to Callas. When her parents divorced, Callas returned to Athens with her mother, Evangelia, and embarked on her conservatory studies, only to return to New York during World War II. At the height of her career, Callas famously shed nearly 80 pounds to morph herself into a refined fashion addict, wearing everything from Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent to customized styles by the Milanese seamstress Biki. At the same time, her love affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis would torment her to the bitter end.
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