For its first ever exhibition, La Seine Musicale pays homage to the opera singer Maria Callas, on the 40th birthday of her passing (September 16th 1977). Presented by the Département des Hauts-de-Seine, Maria by Callas places the legend in the heart of the exhibition, through an intimate and sensible journey. 800 sqm of discovery, punctuated by many unseen archives.

The Legend of the Opera

The items of this exhibition have been gathered by Tom Volf, the curator and author of the biggest eponymous book ever published about the Diva assoluta. Photographs, private Super 8 films, private recordings of her live performances, intimate letters, rare interviews but also show costumes and iconic objects offer a new look at the one who disrupted vocal interpretation.

Moments of private life filmed by Grace Kelly or Franco Zeffirelli during holidays on the boat of Aristote Onassis in the 60s ; audio and video interviews of Maria Callas as well as those who were close to her like Alain Delon, Georges Prêtre or Valery Giscard d’Estaing ; 5000 photos from childhood to adult life of the one we called Maria Anna Sophia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos from her beginnings in the 30s to her last tour in 1973/1974. The photos also trace back her holidays or jetset years. 300 letters and unfinished memoirs, written between 1949 and 1976 are just some of the findings the visitor will be able to experience. A real immersive experience into the diva’s memories.

Guided by the voice of the opera singer, the visitor walks alongside her. Yet unknown interviews are the driving force behind this exhibition, also marked by a strong musical presence as there are unheard live recordings punctuating the flow.

Revealed for the first time in the eyes of the public, this archive allows to give the diva her voice back. The alternation between her private and public spheres allows us to perceive the work, the sacrifices and the emotions of this major 20th century artist.

The innovative technology put in place for this exhibition allows a reproduction of the virtuosity, the vocal technique and the emotion carried in Maria Callas’ voice. An exceptional audio quality runs through the exhibition. There is also a 360° room where you can hear Maria as if she was there.

Maria by Callas exhibition created
& curated by Tom Volf
La Seine Musicale, Autumn 2017
Grimaldi Forum, April 2018
Moscow, March 2019




Exhibition Photos