Scherzo

Maria Callas On The Move: A Diva Does D.C.

  • Maria Callas, known as "La Divina" to her legions of acolytes, escaped from our old headquarters via a white Prius in the parking garage. Where would she go next?
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    Maria Callas, known as "La Divina" to her legions of acolytes, escaped from our old headquarters via a white Prius in the parking garage. Where would she go next?
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Born in Manhattan. Educated in Athens. Artistic citizen of the world. Callas' thirst for travel (and sightseeing) continues.
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    Born in Manhattan. Educated in Athens. Artistic citizen of the world. Callas' thirst for travel (and sightseeing) continues.
    Anya Grundmann/NPR
  • In the world of opera, there's no partisan debate: Maria Callas amended the laws and statutes of her art.
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    In the world of opera, there's no partisan debate: Maria Callas amended the laws and statutes of her art.
    Anya Grundmann/NPR
  • Experts say Callas' controversial weight loss, in 1953, may have affected her voice. But we spied her ordering a half-smoke and an Arnold Palmer at Ben's Chili Bowl.
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    Experts say Callas' controversial weight loss, in 1953, may have affected her voice. But we spied her ordering a half-smoke and an Arnold Palmer at Ben's Chili Bowl.
    Anya Grundmann/NPR
  • Callas and Jackie Onassis were rivals with Wagnerian intensity. Think of her visit to the White House Press Briefing Room as "operatic payback."
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    Callas and Jackie Onassis were rivals with Wagnerian intensity. Think of her visit to the White House Press Briefing Room as "operatic payback."
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Recalling her days on stage as Puccini's tragic Cio-Cio-San, Callas felt right at home in the (Madama) Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum.
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    Recalling her days on stage as Puccini's tragic Cio-Cio-San, Callas felt right at home in the (Madama) Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • It's not La Scala (where she first sang in 1950), but Callas did find the longest eSCALAtor in Washington.
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    It's not La Scala (where she first sang in 1950), but Callas did find the longest eSCALAtor in Washington.
    Valeska Hilbig/For NPR
  • Like the exquisite Cherry Blossoms, Callas' peak (throughout the 1950s) was spectacular, intense and ultimately short-lived.
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    Like the exquisite Cherry Blossoms, Callas' peak (throughout the 1950s) was spectacular, intense and ultimately short-lived.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Callas' appetite for drama was titanic. But for a real meal, Maria "lunches" with Julia Child in her kitchen at the American History Museum.
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    Callas' appetite for drama was titanic. But for a real meal, Maria "lunches" with Julia Child in her kitchen at the American History Museum.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Having found her leading man gliding through the streets of Washington, Callas considers a role in a new opera performed entirely on Segways.
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    Having found her leading man gliding through the streets of Washington, Callas considers a role in a new opera performed entirely on Segways.

    Anya Grundmann/NPR
  • Drawn by the scent of a recent production of Norma (her signature role), Callas deigned to visit the Kennedy Center Opera House. (Remember: Aristotle Onassis dumped Callas for Jackie.)
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    Drawn by the scent of a recent production of Norma (her signature role), Callas deigned to visit the Kennedy Center Opera House. (Remember: Aristotle Onassis dumped Callas for Jackie.)
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • In the COURT of operatic opinion, Callas ruled SUPREME. Just ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or Renata Tebaldi).
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    In the COURT of operatic opinion, Callas ruled SUPREME. Just ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or Renata Tebaldi).
    Anya Grundmann/NPR
  • Callas obsessively collected recipes she never cooked. On Constitution Avenue, she discovers the secret behind Polish sausage.
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    Callas obsessively collected recipes she never cooked. On Constitution Avenue, she discovers the secret behind Polish sausage.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Callas was a towering monument in the history of opera, introducing a new and riveting sense of drama to every role she sang.
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    Callas was a towering monument in the history of opera, introducing a new and riveting sense of drama to every role she sang.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Touring an urban farmers' market (in Dupont Circle) reminds Callas of her humble upbringing in Manhattan's Washington Heights, as well as her subsequent move to Athens.
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    Touring an urban farmers' market (in Dupont Circle) reminds Callas of her humble upbringing in Manhattan's Washington Heights, as well as her subsequent move to Athens.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • Callas hobnobbed with some of the world's most beautiful people. Recently, she found a brief moment in her schedule for the denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
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    Callas hobnobbed with some of the world's most beautiful people. Recently, she found a brief moment in her schedule for the denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    Tom Huizenga/NPR
  • After a little more than a week on the town, Callas (and her trusty officemate Tom Huizenga) move into NPR's new headquarters
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    After a little more than a week on the town, Callas (and her trusty officemate Tom Huizenga) move into NPR's new headquarters
    Suraya Mohamed/NPR

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As one door closes, another opens. Last week, we shut down operations at our old Washington, D.C, headquarters; today, we walked into a brand-new building.

Making the move wasn't easy. In 14 years, I'd acquired an impressive amount of stuff, from LPs autographed by Placido Domingo and Tom Jones to books like The Essential Guide to Dutch Music. And did I really need three staple removers?

Still, there's one object — or should I say "person" — I've relied on throughout the years. It's my elegant and trusted officemate, Maria Callas, the famous opera star whom we at NPR Music have adopted as our official Diva-in-Residence.

She actually left the old building about a week ago, and was subsequently spotted gallivanting around Washington, D.C. With the help of fellow Callas chasers Anya Grundmann and Valeska Hilbig, we snapped these photos of La Divina in an assortment of locales that proved surprisingly diverse, given that she's merely a cardboard cut-out.

I'm happy to report that Callas has landed successfully in our new offices at 1111 North Capitol.

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