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Priceless Callas robe stolen from Greek exhibition May 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Police & Crime.

A priceless robe worn by opera diva Maria Callas in performance has been stolen from an Athens exhibition, a police source said Tuesday.

The theft occurred Friday, as the Italian Cultural Center which had organized the exhibition was closed for three days during the Pentecost holiday. The police gave no further details.

Greece is organizing a series of events this year to honor Maria Callas, and stress her Greek background, including an international opera competition. The Italian Cultural Center had organized a two-week exhibition of Callas memorabilia, including robes, jewelry, and accessories.

Callas was born of Greek immigrants in the US and took Greek Nationality in 1966 at the age of 43, at the end of her relationship with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. She died 11 years later in Paris.

UPDATE > 30 May 2007

Police in Athens were yesterday examining surveillance camera footage to identify the thief who stole a valuable dress belonging to the late diva Maria Callas from the Italian Cultural Institute last Friday.

The dress was one of hundreds of personal belongings of the internationally acclaimed opera singer on display to mark the 30th anniversary of her death. “It was an exceptionally well-organized theft,” Institute director Melita Palestini said yesterday when the robbery was discovered following the center’s three-day closure for Pentecost.

According to Palestini, the location of the dress in a corner behind a column probably helped the thief remove it among the crowds attending the exhibition on Friday, the closing day. But cameras recorded the thief, a man in his 40s, police said. Police say that the thief may have removed the dress, valued at 100,000 euros, on behalf of a collector.

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