The efforts of the Company
for the Opera Building and the 'Maria Callas' Opera Academy,
which was set up on 31 July 2000 on the personal initiative
and with the support of well-known figures from the whole
of the country's social fabric, have had as their vision
the realisation of the major task of creating a suitable
building for our Opera House, in parallel with the foundation
of an Opera Academy which will bear the name of Maria Callas, a tribute to
the greatest of musical artists.
Our Company, in the course of the eight years since its
foundation, has held concerts and painting exhibitions, and
has compiled studies and an approximate budget for the expenditure
and designs required for the creation of the New National
Opera House Building and the 'Maria Callas' Opera Academy.
It has also held a unique exhibition entitled 'In the Maria
Callas Constellation - the origins of a myth', with objects,
rare personal documents, and videos of the testimony of prominent
figures and an interview with Callas herself.
All these important activities have had as their aim the
sensitisation of public opinion and the exertion of pressure
on the state, since such an undertaking cannot remain a private
It is within this philosophy that a series of contacts
with figures in the world of politics and finance - among
them the 'Stavros Niarchos' Foundation - should be seen.
Thus this Foundation's recent announcement that it is undertaking
in full the building of the Opera in the Phaleron Delta and
to deliver it to the Ministry of Culture, which is the official
agency to which the National Opera belongs, brought the greatest
satisfaction to the members of the Company, given that this
outcome constitutes the successful culmination of inexhaustible
efforts over a whole decade.
As President of the Company, I am joined by the members
of the Board, with the support of Partners and Friends, in
continuing our task of making the Opera Academy which will
bear the name of Maria Callas a reality. It is important
that such an Academy of Music should be set up in this country,
so that the quality of musical education should be re-defined
and that study there should of equal status with that at
the Academies and Schools of music of Europe, and should
be recognised by them as such.
The Opera Academy cannot, unfortunately, for purely technical
reasons, be established next to the Opera as we originally
envisioned; for that reason, we have orientated ourselves
towards a building of great historical value, directly bound
up with the life of Maria Callas.
The Opera Academy is intended to become a place for the
acquisition of Experience and Knowledge, especially for the
talented who are destined to achieve distinction at an international
level, after being equipped for this in a way worthy of the
Academies of Europe.
Let me conclude by adding that in this Academy an Archive
will be created, with the collaboration of collectors of
rare recordings and unpublished archival material concerned
with Opera, and more especially with Maria Callas, to which
students at the Academy will have access.