Teatro alla Scala Discovers Maria Callas’ ‘Il Turco in Italia’ Costume

By Francisco Salazar

The Teatro alla Scala has found a costume Maria Callas wore in a production of “Il Turco in Italia.”

The company, which is celebrating the soprano’s centenary, noted that while preparing material for the digitization of historical costumes, the manager of the costume warehouse found an unnamed pink lace dressing gown in a box containing generic material from “Il Turco in Italia.”

According to the manager, the dressing gown corresponds to a photo of Callas in the production. The description of Fiorilla’s costumes contained in the tailoring book no. 171 comprises “white silk canvas shirt with white lace trim and pink ribbons / pink curtain lace dressing gown.”

While the company was reorganizing its archives during a photographic session of a selection of historical costumes, the company found a costume designed by Zeffirelli for Callas in the part of Fiorilla which was a white nightgown with bustier but that did not correspond to the archive photo. It was discovered that the white gown was in fact a costume worn by Callas only a month before for a production of “La Sonnambula” in 1955 conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

The Teatro alla Scala said, “The episode testifies to the importance of the work of recovering and valorizing the archives, strengthened with the creation of the new Artistic Historical Archive a year ago and opens up prospects for the future.”

The Teatro alla Scala will continue to celebrate Callas during the production of “Medée” when it unveils two letters written by Maria Callas about the character of Medea.