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Maria Callas Museum to have its own home

11 November 2013 / 21:11:16  GRReporter
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Although Maria Callas’ house on Patission Street is considered unsuitable for renewal by its current owner, the Insurance Fund of Seafarers (NAT,) and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, two candidates are interested in restoring the building.

The municipality of Athens and the family of Vassilis Vassilikos and Vasso Papantoniou promise to revive the house which has been abandoned for years. The municipality of Athens is negotiating with the Insurance Fund of Seafarers to rent the building or to obtain a loan against the obligation to carry out the restoration works on the building, which will amount to 1.5 million euro. The municipal authorities will try to obtain funds for the expensive restoration of the building through the National Strategic Reference Framework although the function of the building is not yet clear.

The protected building on the corner of 61 Patission Street and Skaramanga Street was designed by architect Costas Kitsikis and built in 1925. The earthquake in 1999 had seriously damaged it and it had remained closed for many years, until last year when the police evacuated it and sealed it.

"It is not important that the repair is unprofitable. The building should be restored and the municipality is exploring the options of including it in the National Strategic Reference Framework. The historic appearance of Patission Street should be preserved", said Deputy Mayor for Culture in the municipality of Athens, Nelly Papahela.

However, it seems that the local government finds it difficult to secure the necessary funds and it is therefore reluctant to shelter there a long-awaited institution, namely the Maria Callas Museum, and would prefer to move it from Technopolis centre, where it is today, to a building owned by the municipality, namely the former Royal hotel at 44 Mitropoleos Street.

The project cost is estimated at 1.2 million euro

The specific building was built in the post-war period, at the intersection of Mitropoleos and Petraki streets, and declared protected in 1985.

Initially, the Theatre Museum was allowed to use the three-storied building but, due to financial problems, the museum was not moved.

The creation of the Maria Callas Museum is in its feasibility stage, as stated by the head of Technopolis, Angeliki Andonopoulou, and the project cost is estimated at 1.2 million euro. The funding will be obtained through the National Strategic Reference Framework, during the current financial period in order for the project "to be completed as quickly as possible," said Andonopoulou.

Academy of opera arts

The municipality of Athens is not the only party interested in Maria Callas’ house. The family of Vassilis Vassilikos and Vasso Papantoniou yearns to establish there an academy of opera arts, which will be named after the legendary opera diva. The non-profit association formed by Vassilikos and Papantoniou aims to create a building for the National Opera (a dream that is being materialized in cooperation with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation) and to establish the academy that will bear the name of Maria Callas.
 
The position of the Insurance Fund of Seafarers

The chairman of the Insurance Fund of Seafarers, George Theotokas, notes that the negotiations with the municipality of Athens have not yet found an acceptable solution. As for the non-profit organisation and its plans to provide a building for the National Opera and the Maria Callas academy of opera arts, he points out that the Fund may not offer the building for rent directly to individuals and foundations, as a contest and tender should be organized. "Conversely, in the case of the municipality, we are able to offer the building for rent directly", emphasizes Theotokas.

He adds that if there is no positive result in either of the two cases, the Insurance Fund of Seafarers will proceed to call for expressions of interest in renting the building, its restoration being a mandatory clause in the specific agreement.

 

Tags: Maria CallasMuseumProtected buildingInsurance Fund of Seafarers
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