Most of us know Maria Callas as one of the 20th century's most legendary opera singers, but the celebrated soprano was also an accomplished cook. Born to Greek parents in 1923 in New York City, Callas received operatic training in Athens before making her official debut at Italy's La Scala in 1951. Now, more than thirty years after her death, Callas remains one of opera's most popular recording artists, but her intriguing relationship with food is only just beginning to be explored.
Known affectionately as "La Divina" for her angelic singing voice, Callas collected recipes from her favorite restaurants around the world, 150 of which can be found in the Italian cookbook, La Divina in Cucina. Her food habits were also the subject of a recent 52-minute Italian documentary, Callas Cooking: Ingredients of a Legend by Marco Kuveiller (2007).
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Now, the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles presents Maria Callas: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth, an exhibition featuring some of the renowned artist's personal artifacts and memorabilia. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Institute is also offering a cooking class, where opera and food-lovers alike have the opportunity to whip up some of the artist's favorite dishes: mussels with marinara, risotto with fresh herbs, and Callas' own beloved cake recipe, La Torta Mia.
You may not be able to sing like a diva, but at least you can cook like one.
La Divina in Cucina: Cooking with Maria Callas, on Saturday April 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, 1023 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. $85 regular/$75 IIC members, includes food, wine and recipes. Register at: (310) 824-7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria Callas: A Woman, a Voice, a Myth, in association with the Ring Festival Los Angeles, March 16 - April 28, Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, Galleria Spazio Italia. 1023 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. Contact: (310) 443-3250 or email@example.com.