Maria Callas Square in Lefkada?
The Hellenic Parliament Foundation had organized in 2008 an exhibition of selective photos and videos of Maria Callas life. Today, this exhibition is again enabled in several cities of Greece during 2023 in commemoration of 100 years since her birthday on the 2nd of December. In particular, the Cultural Center of Lefkada hosts now the exhibition from late October until the 25th of November. But, why is this exhibition in Lefkada? The answer is that because Maria loved Lefkada during a period of her life. In particular, it was from 1963 when Onassis shipping tycoon (the love of her life) bought Skorpios an isle nearby Lefkada, until 1968 when Onassis married ex First Lady of USA Jacqueline Kennedy. During that period Maria loved to be in Lefkada. After all, it was in August of 1964 during the International Folklore Festival when she sang unofficially at the central square of Lefkada. However, it was due to that spontaneous event that little Lefkada became known all over the world. In other words, the central square of the old town and the island in general stole a little shine of Maria’s star. So, why not this year to rename the place: The Maria Callas Square in Lefkada.
Callas Last Stage Appearance in Greece
The love between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis held almost a decade from 1958 to 1968 and later remained as a strong friendship until Onassis death in 1975. When Onassis bought Skorpios in 1963 Maria and Aristotle liked to meet each other there from time to time. During those years they also had frequent communication with the local authorities and people. The local society used to say the best words about the couple in love. In particular, locals loved to welcome them by offering flowers and gifts. The couple liked to make public appearances on the island. Sometimes they loved to have a lunch or a dinner to Nydri the second biggest town of Lefkada opposite Skorpios. More rarely they used to appear in the main street of Lefkada town.
On the 30th of August in 1964 during the International Folklore Dancing Festival of Lefkada Maria and Aristotle were among the local audience. When the locals realized that the couple was among them they started to applause and asked for Maria to sing. Onassis nodded to her as the audience was prompting her with a big applause. A young pianist, Kyriakos Sfetsas who today is a renown music composer, accompanied her in an aria of Cavalleria Rusticana. Of course, her voice left the audience speechless. That moment was a divine moment for Lefkada from “La Divina” the nickname of Callas because of her magical voice. Unfortunately, that was her last stage appearance in Greece. So, due to that event if the local authorities suggested a new name for the Central Square of Lefkada it would be a great honor for the island in commemoration of 100 years since Maria Callas birthday. An inscription at the center of the square:
Maria Callas Square
In Commemoration of Her Last Stage Appearance in Greece