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Monica Bellucci to Portray Maria Callas at Ancient Greek Theater

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Monica Bellucci will portray Maria Callas at the historic venue of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens. Screenshot/YouTube

Renowned Italian actress and beauty icon Monica Bellucci is to portray the iconic Greek soprano Maria Callas at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens on September 21, 22 and 23 of this year.

Bellucci is coming to Greece to perform a monologue which is based on unpublished letters of the great soprano entitled “Maria Callas: Letters and Memories.” It is directed by Tom Volf and based on his book and film “Maria by Callas.”

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The performance will take place at the historic venue of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, on the slopes of the Acropolis Hill, which dates back to the 2nd century AD.

The event was planned for September 2020 but of course had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

The monologue premiered at the Bouffes Parisiens Theater in March of 2020 and received favorable reviews.

Bellucci: Callas’ letters ‘so beautiful’

Bellucci said she was captivated by Volf’s project on Callas, who was known for her tragic love affair with the Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis almost as much as for her captivating voice.

The biographical show draws heavily on letters and writings by Callas, collected by Volf. “The letters are so beautiful… it was impossible not to see into the soul of this wonderful artist,” said Bellucci.

For Volf, a sort of “chemistry” occurred between Bellucci and Callas on stage. The actress, he said, “interpreted with accuracy the strength and vulnerability of the diva. With her celebrity status, Monica was able to understand the woman behind the legend.”

Bellucci even wears one of Callas’s dresses in the play. “What is incredible is that there was no need to make a single adjustment, it was as if it was made to measure,” said Volf.

The Italian diva confessed at the time she is terrorized just getting on stage. “It is not that I was afraid of theatre, I am still afraid of theatre. I tremble,” the 55-year-old told AFP.

“Going on stage is almost a kind of violence that I put myself through,” she added. Acting in films, said the actress who has played in two The Matrix movies and was a Bond girl in the 2015 movie “Spectre,” is less intimidating.

“When one makes a film, it is as if one is protected from the outside world. With theatre, one breathes in the public and the public breathes you in. There is a direct contact…”

It’s hard to believe it has been more than 40 years since her death of Maria Callas, mostly because her immortal voice lives on, along with her legend.

Callas reminded opera that it is also theatre, and that the “long lines of paunchy and plump singers that come along to push out a tune on center stage are no longer acceptable,” as a French correspondent wrote after her death in 1977.

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