HomeCommunityAssociationsHellenic Lyceum of Sydney’s book club honours centenary of Maria Callas’ birth

Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney’s book club honours centenary of Maria Callas’ birth

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The Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney’s Book Club decided to honour the centenary of Maria Callas’ birth on Saturday, December 2 with a High Tea Presentation.

Callas was an American-born Greek that lived in America, Greece, Italy and finally in Paris where she died in 1977, aged 53.

hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas

The High Tea event was held at St. Basil’s in Randwick, Sydney and was attended by over 90 people including the First Secretary for Public Diplomacy at the Consulate of Greece in Sydney, Anastasia Christofilopoulou.

On the day, Tina Contos and Eleni Kandylas-Mallios gave a PowerPoint presentation centred around five sections of Callas’ life – Early Years, Career, Life and Loves, Fashion Icons and Later Life and Legacy. 

hellenic lyceum maria callas

Each section started with a quote from Callas related to the topic so that the audience could reflect on that quote after hearing the talk and understand what made her say it and why.

The Book Club also discussed Callas’ legacy, mentioning UNESCO’s recognition of her centenary this year which included exhibitions and concerts around Greece and the world. 

hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas

The presentation also touched on the impact Callas had on opera internationally, the new movies centred around the last years of her life, the large number of biographies written about her and of course, her personal life, including her 10-year affair with Aristotle Onassis, and her impact on the fashion world. 

Callas mixed with the rich and famous in the 50s and 60s and even sang at President John F. Kennedy’s birthday in 1962 but was upstaged by Marilyn Monroe, who also sang.

hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas

The presentation further entertained guests with recordings of Callas singing Casta Diva from Norma in Paris in 1958, an interview in Greek while she was in Athens in 1957 before her performance there, and an interview in English with Barbara Walters in New York in 1974.

On the day, Ms Contos shared her favourite quote from Callas, which focused on her understanding of what an opera truly is.

hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas
hellenic lyceum maria callas

Callas once said, “An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination; it becomes my life and it stays part of my life long after I’ve left the opera.”

The event concluded with a beautiful high tea for guests to enjoy and a birthday cake in Callas’ honour.

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