The InstitutionTribute to Maria Callas

The Institution : Tribute to Maria Callas

In celebration of the centenary of her birth on December 2nd, 1923, the Paris Opera pays tribute to Maria Callas. A compelling singer and a deeply moving tragedienne, Maria Callas transformed the art of operatic acting and singing.

Vissi d’arte – Maria Callas Gala

The Paris Opera is staging a special gala on the anniversary date.

Conducted by Eun Sun Kim, an exceptional cast will pay tribute to Callas in a setting designed by Robert Carsen.

The Maria Callas Gala will be broadcast on France 5 on 8 December 2023, during a special evening dedicated to Maria Callas.


Maria Callas was the most celebrated operatic artist of the 20th century. Endowed with extraordinary vocal abilities and a keen sense of tragedy, she remains the archetypal singer whose fame extends beyond the realm of opera.

Collaborator, friend and muse of Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini, who sublimated her on stage and screen, Callas did not escape the media coverage of her private life often reduced to her unhappy relationship with the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis. She died in Paris in 1977, more than ten years after her last theatrical performance.

Maria Callas at the Paris Opera

Maria Callas performed three times on the stage of the Palais Garnier: at a Legion d’Honneur gala in 1958, in Norma in 1964 under the baton of Georges Prêtre, and in Franco Zeffirelli’s famous production of Tosca.

She also had a special bond with Paris, where she lived and died on 16 September 1977. 

Watch Maria Callas' first performance at the Palais Garnier on POP!

Discover Maria Callas' exceptional concert at the Palais Garnier in 1958 on Paris Opera Play, the Paris Opera's streaming platform.

For her inaugural recital in France, Maria Callas performs arias from the operas La Forza del destino, Il Trovatore, Norma, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Tosca, accompanied by the Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Georges Sebastian.


The day that Maria Callas sang Norma at the Paris Opera

59 years ago, in 1964, Maria Callas was singing Norma, conducted by Georges Prêtre, for the very first time at the Palais Garnier.

The day that Maria Callas sang Tosca at the Paris Opera

In 1958, on the occasion of a Gala evening at the Paris Opera, Maria Callas sang the aria “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca, by Puccini.

Une nuit à l'Opéra (A night at the Opera)

Based on archive photos, Sergei Loznitsa revives with humor the fantastic Gala evenings organized by the Paris Opera during the 1950s and 1960s.

With great fanfare, international stars of the time and the crème de la crème of Paris are climbing the steps of the Palais Garnier, in front of ecstatic audiences, to listen to Maria Callas.

Recordings with the Paris Opera Orchestra


Explore further

7 Deaths of Maria Callas (2021)

A unique production at the crossroads of opera and performance art, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas by Marina Abramović (2021) features arias from roles performed by the legendary soprano, with allusions to the dying heroines sacrificed on stage by 19th century composers.


Throughout the 1950s, Violetta Valéry was a central character in Maria Callas's repertoire; in 1956 alone she performed it 17 times at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.


The autobiographical character of Marina Abramović's work, fuelled by the inherent suffering of her disillusionment and amorous dramas, finds a particular resonance in the life of Maria Callas.

It is the heroine’s relationship with love’s demise which Marina Abramović, avatar-like, brings to the stage in 7 Deaths of Maria Callas.



aria invites you to discover this extraordinary woman who revolutionised operatic art in the last century.

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