Music in the name of Maria

Foreigners who live in Athens and summer visitors will be interested to know that a private place – the home of Prodromos and Lena Emfietzoglou, which is also a gallery created to house around 400 works by Greek artists – is the venue for a magical evening on July 10. Soprano Vasso Papantoniou will sing, accompanied by harpist Maria Bildea, in the gallery in aid of her major objective, which is the creation of a new building for the National Opera and the Maria Callas Academy. Proceeds from the recital and the supper afterward in the fabulously illuminated mansion, known as the Waterlily Villa, will go toward that purpose. The location is Anavryta, Maroussi, and the magnet – essential for development of the opera in Greece – is the name of the legendary singer Maria Callas. In her prime, many summers ago, Callas sang Bellini’s «Norma» to great acclaim at Epidaurus and the ancient Herod Atticus Theater, while the lovestruck Aristotle Onassis sent her a diamond necklace concealed in a bouquet of flowers. Callas lost a great deal for that love, but she left us her unsurpassed voice. The personal crisis that many children are experiencing reflects a more general crisis in society, Matsa believes. «Young people live at a rapid pace, they are constantly being asked to memorize things, but at the same time they have no support, no role model and no point of reference. And schools no longer form the personality. Children need to get away from misery and routine. But when they get into drugs they realize they are experiencing another kind of routine that is even more intense.»