Goddess of Opera
19 December, 2013
Anna Maria Cecillia Kalogeropoulou was born in New York on 2 December 1923, but she was a Greek soprano. She received her musical education in Greece and started her career in Italy. She was a matchless phenomenon with a unique voice, and her musical achievements are recognized world over. She could be called “the goddess of opera.”
Maria Callas would have become 90 years old on 2 December 2013, and in Tbilisi, in an apartment at Abashidze Street N6, there
is a tradition to celebrate her birthday every year. This year, a huge cake was baked, and various public figures gathered to listen to recordings of her vocal performances. The apartment was decorated with white carnations, her favorite flowers. In short, the aim was to do everything possible to create an occasion that would have been pleasant for Maria Callas herself.
The annual celebration was originally organized by Solomon Kogan, a man of Jewish origin who was a great lover of classical music. He graduated from the Drama Institute of Tbilisi. He created the Georgian National Ballet costumes together with Simon (Soliko) Virsaladze, a Georgian art director. And Kogan was a relative of a world renowned author and playwright Sholom Aleichem.
Today the tradition is carried on by Avtandil Danelia, who was a friend of Kogan. He actually managed to get acquainted with the legendary Callas when she was invited to be a member of the jury of the Tchaikovsky Musical Competition in Moscow. Moreover, he heard the immortal voice of Maria Callas for the very first time in a radio program that was produced by ??Kogan.
Avtandil Danelia, a chemist by profession, was granted the prize of The Best Listener of the Year, Century and Age by the Moscow Conservatoire. Years later, Kogan and Danelia jointly established an International Art Association, which was named Mzechabuki and Maria Callas, in honor of two great artists, Callas and Vakhtang Chabukiani.
Some opera lovers can remember first hearing the voice of Callas when they themselves were small children, and though they may go on to attend the performances of many other singers, Callas somehow remains their favorite. After Callas, it is difficult for them to listen to some other opera singer. Her role in the history of vocal art is of inestimable value.