Here comes another failed statue commemorating a woman. This time, it’s soprano Maria Callas.

This is getting freaky. Unsatisfactory memorials rise from time to time, yes, but now they come in quick succession. I’m thinking of the detached head hailing indigenous women in Mexico City, the sexually suggestive bronze statue hailing female workers in Italy, and the all-nude statue hailing feminist icon in England.

Wrong lesson

The latest flop, a life-size bronze intended to pay tribute to the woman voted by BBC Magazine “the greatest soprano of all time.” What you get is a near six-foot figure with arms crossed over her chest like some strict schoolmarm ruling a classroom.

Opera singer Michael Moussou told The Guardian that the posture of the statue is wrong: "Nothing could be less representative of Maria Callas," because, he said the stance would “block voice production.”

The posture has also laid itself open to spoofs. The Guardian calls it “Gandhi in heels.” Other parodies include likening it to an Oscar statuette given to movie stars and moviemakers. And Classic FM reports a comparison to C-3PO, the droid in Star Wars. (I disagree with the allusion to the droid. C-3PO had a certain charm, if unpolished, that is wholly missing in the tribute to Callas).

Location, location

The only thing Greece’s tribute seems to have gotten right is its location - the base of the Acropolis, across from the Roman Theatre where Callas made her debut.

Unlike the tributes to women in Mexico and Italy, the homage to Callas was created by a woman, Liti, a sculpture teacher at the Athens School of Fine Arts for the last 21 years. The work also comes with street cred. The design was approved by KAS, Greece’s archaeological watchdog.

Given the result, though, it might have been a better bet to have a visual arts group weighed in on what Liti was doing; although she seems quite satisfied with herself.

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As she told Greece’s daily newspaper, Kathimerini, “I was given the joy of studying a unique personality and the ability to speak of her through emotion.”

Drama queen

But here’s the thing. With the figure’s arms crossed over her chest and standing stiffly as if holding back all feeling, she looks cold and unfeeling – the very opposite trait for which Callas was known.

As Matthew Gurewitsch, a classical music writer specializing in opera, noted in The Atlantic Monthly, Callas would even distort a vocal line for dramatic effect. She was known for her ability to emote.

Pushing back against the brickbats that the sculpture has clearly brought upon itself, Lliana Skourli, who established the Maria Callas Greek Society that helped fund the statue, said the objections are “totally unfair.”

Noticeably, Skourli didn’t defend the statue but rather the effort that her group made to get it constructed - the “blood and tears” of those who wanted to see Callas memorialized. Talking about all the lampoons, she said, “We expected a bit of noise, a bit of fuss, but nothing like this.”