Excerpt from Paraskinio TV show – A tribute to Kostis Bastias, ERT

—Mrs. Callas, please share with us your thoughts and feelings about being back in Greece to perform after so many years.


—I want you to understand something. I am grateful to Mr. Bastias. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I auditioned for the newly established Greek National Opera and Mr. Bastias agreed with Mrs. De Hidalgo to give me a stipend to study at the National Opera. In other words, they showed great confidence in me and helped me out at a time when I needed help the most. I never forgot that. So, first of all, Mr. Bastias showed that he had brains, ears, or, as they say in Italian, a nose (naso), that is he could sniff out something worthy. He put his trust in me. So, when he wrote to me about staging an opera at Epidaurus, out of gratitude for his gesture and to return the favour, I said yes. They wanted to stage Medea, but I chose Norma because it is more bel canto. Regarding my payment by the Greek National Opera, we decided to give it to…. Kostas, perhaps you would like to talk about that?


— Mrs. Callas informed me, even as we spoke on the phone from Milan, that, for all I had done for her back then, she would return to the Greek National Opera her fee of $15,000 dollars — it’s $5,000 per show, hence $15,000 for 3 shows. And she gives back this amount, in her own words, so that I may do for others what I had done for her back in the day. So, this amount will be deposited into a scholarship fund of the Greek National Opera in order to send one young artist abroad every year for studies. So, it is done like that, and a sort of Maria Callas scholarship is established.

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