Thirteen items of underwear which belonged to the late opera diva Maria Callas are to escape the flames of destruction following a change of heart by the Greek Culture Ministry.
The underwear, which includes a black lace slip and stockings, was bought by the ministry for $24,000 in December at an auction of the great singer’s possessions in Paris.
At the time the ministry said it would burn the underwear out of respect for the singer. But it has now said it will be locked up away from public view and "forgotten", reports BBC Online News.
Alkistis Soulogianni, director of the culture ministry's international cultural relations, said that "when dealing with a legend, sentimentality comes into play". He told the Associated Press: "We just couldn’t burn the objects – but no one will ever see them, either."
The two-day auction in Paris of Callas’ personal belongings and clothes fetched $1.25m. More than 2,000 pieces were sold, ranging from paintings and Bibles to coat hangers.
Most of Callas's valuable possessions were sold off by her family and her estranged husband Giovanni Meneghini shortly after she died in her Paris flat, aged 53, in 1977.
Tue Feb 20 2001 (4:46:20 PM)