Mary, Mariana, Maria – The Unsung Greek Years of Callas
Stavros Niarchos Hall
Mary, Mariana, Maria – The Unsung Greek Years of Callas

Events - Documentary

December 2023
Δημιουργική Ομάδα

Concept, research, script: Vasilis Louras
Direction: Michalis Asthenidis, Vasilis Louras
Cinematography: Fotis Zygouris
Producer: Stella Angeletou
Production management artistic associate: Io Calochristos
Research consultants: Aris Christofellis, Sophia Kompotiati

Πρωταγωνιστές Παράστασης

Tickets: €10

Stavros Niarchos Hall


Mary, Mariana, Maria – The Unsung Greek Years of Callas

A GNO co-production with ESCAPE Productions

Available Dates

  • 02 Dec 2023


Stavros Niarchos Hall of the GNO – SNFCC


Starts at: 18.30 | clock

Lead Donor of the GNO & Maria Callas Tribute Donor




Maria Callas Tribute Sponsor
PPC (Public Power Company)




As part of the tribute to the centennial of Maria Callas’ birth


Premiering on 2 December 2023 inside the Stavros Niarchos Hall –100 years to the day since the birth of Maria Callas– is a new documentary film about the greatest soprano of the 20th century, who took the first major steps of her career in Greece. This documentary by Vasilis Louras, co-produced by the Greek National Opera with ESCAPE Productions, focuses its attentions on the years in which she received her arts training and performed her first roles at the Greek National Opera (1937-1945), and on her three later appearances in Greece: at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (1957) as part of the Athens Festival, and at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus (1960 and 1961) with the Greek National Opera.

In 1937, when she first arrived in Greece at the age of 14, Mary Kalogeropoulou began taking singing classes at the Greek National Conservatoire, tutored by Maria Trivella. By 1938, she had made her first public appearance, at the Parnassos Literary Society as part of the Conservatoire’s annual showcase. 1939 saw her enter the most important phase of her training, when she enrolled at the Athens Conservatoire to study under the legendary Spanish soprano Elvira de Hidalgo.

One year later, Hidalgo recommended her to Kostis Bastias, Director of the Greek National Opera and the National (then known as the Royal) Theatre of Greece, proposing that he hire Kalogeropoulou at the Opera as a member of the chorus, thus allowing her to earn the funds she needed to continue her studies. Her first contract with the Greek National Opera is dated 20 June 1940, with the 17-year-old soprano signing her name as Mariana Kalogeropoulou. From 1940 through until 1945 (when she would return to New York), during the dark days of the Second World War, Kalogeropoulou would take on her first major roles. Despite her difficult relationship with her mother, the hostility she faced from a portion of her peers, and the injustices she suffered following the German withdrawal, Maria would go on to leave Greece in September 1945 a fully-primed prima donna, widely known among devotees of the Greek National Opera in Athens, with a sound training and a great deal of experience performing on stage. It is certainly no coincidence that, following an audition just a few months later, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City offered the young soloist her first contract. In 1957, Maria Meneghini-Callas would return to Athens to open the Athens Festival at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, but found herself the target of shameful attacks made by the Greek media and political establishment of the time. In 1960, by which time she went by the name Maria Callas, she accepted an invitation extended by Kostis Bastias to perform the title role in a production of Bellini’s Norma at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, and the lead in Cherubini’s Medea at the same venue the following year.

Through the use of archival materials, interviews with both her peers and with persons who experienced the events in question first-hand, and interviews given later by Callas herself, this documentary seeks to gather together snippets of information from every possible source, as well as details that record, recount, and cast light on that untold –yet pivotal for her later evolution– time in Callas’ life that has been underestimated or even ignored by dozens of attempts to present her life story to date.