(Athens) After finishing her classes at the Julliard School of the Arts in New York, the great Greek singer Maria Callas gave one last piece of advice to her students.

“Keep going the right way: not with fireworks, not with easy applause, but with expression of words, diction, and really feeling what you feel. That’s what I want. I’m not good with words, so that’s it,” she said.

The March 1972 speech is a little-known item to his admiring public, as are letters, jewelry and countless honors, including a series of postage stamps from Kyrgyzstan and Congo.

They are now on display. The city of Athens opened the Maria Callas Museum in the center of the Greek capital on Wednesday, marking the centenary of her birth in New York to Greek parents.

The museum, next to the city’s cathedral and with views of the Acropolis, opens its doors to the public on Thursday, with sections of the museum connected by a red carpet.

The upper floors offer a recreated room from his Parisian apartment, an imaginary forest and a sound studio, as well as recordings of his famous performances and excerpts from his classes at the Julliard school.

Other exhibition areas feature his costumes, handwritten letters and a sketch of a Callas-inspired design by Manolo Blahnik.

“I think we are primarily speaking to someone who is the ordinary visitor who maybe doesn’t know much about opera. He may know a lot about Maria Callas,” museum supervisor Erato Koutsoudaki told The Associated Press.

“We therefore invite them to start with the spaces where you can listen to and watch her perform emblematic arias from the great operas. So you can just experience it. Then you can learn more about who this woman was and why she was important, on the lower floors which are more like a conventional museum. »

Born Maria Kalogeropoulos, the singer made her professional debut in Athens at the age of 18 and died in Paris at the age of 53 after a career that some still consider unrivaled in opera.

Callas would have turned 100 on December 2, and his life was honored with a year of artistic events in Greece as well as the upcoming film Maria starring Angelina Jolie.