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HICD-U.S.A. Virtual Concert  Honors Callas

December 6, 2023

ATHENS – On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Maria Callas, widely considered the greatest diva in the history of opera, the Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy-U.S.A. organized a virtual presentation on December 2nd titled ‘Maria Callas in three voices’. The musical tribute featured sopranos Sofia Papadimitropoulou from Athens, Eleni Calenos from New York, and Savanna Sokolnicki from Nashville.

“Maria Callas dared opera! Today, through recorded performances, we can relive great moments. In solo events, we can watch her standing on stage as the orchestra plays the introduction to an aria. And once again, we are captivated by Maria’s calm outward demeanor and the internal constitution – the simultaneous coexistence of human joy and pain, reflected in a long, clear note or in her suddenly bursting into anger or anxiety. This is what we honor and celebrate,” said DeeGee Lester, the President of HICD-U.S.A., when she spoke to The National Herald.

The Sopranos – from left, Eleni Calenos, Savanna Sokolnicki, and Sofia Papadimitriou – who participated in the event presented by HICD-U.S.A. in honor of the great Greek Diva Maria Callas. Photo: Courtesy of DeeGeeLester

She also noted that, “we are united in love and admiration for Greece as the cradle of philosophy, aesthetics, theater, scientific curiosity, and democracy. And we are inspired by the emerging energy and bold initiatives of modern Greek culture,” referring to the work of the Institute’s branch in Nashville.

Entering its fourth year of operation, “HICD-U.S.A. continues its mission to highlight the virtues of culture, promote cooperation, and build mutual trust,” said Lester, further stating, “we achieve this through the creation of robust cultural networks and mutually beneficial cultural and academic collaborations.”

In response to a question about the upcoming plans, Lester said, “in 2024, HICD-U.S.A. and Nashville celebrate the bicentennial of Dr. Philip Lindsley’s vision for the city in 1824: ‘To create on the frontier, a new Athens, dedicated to education and the arts.’” This vision was developed during the 19th century, with the city recognized as the Athens of the South, culminating in the construction of a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in 1897. “We invite Greece to celebrate with us the bicentennial of Lindsley’s great vision for Nashville and our ties to Greece.”


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