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Exhibition “Renato Mordo”

Renato Mordo Exhibition poster
View of the exhibition space
View of the exhibition space
View of the exhibition space
View of the exhibition space
View of the exhibition space
View of the exhibition space

The exhibition “Renato Mordo” presents the life and work of Renato Mordo, the charismatic man of the theatre and co-founder of the Greek National Opera. Through rich material from the artist's personal records, the public is exposed to both his personal and artistic journey, as well as the political conditions in which he lived and created.

Getting to know Renato Mordo

The exhibition is a cultural initiative that highlights the most significant milestones in the life and work of Renato Mordo. He was the co-founder of the Greek National Opera, a charismatic theatre and opera director, an author and a drama professor.

The exhibition aims to introduce the public to this remarkable man of the theatre and to inform them about his journey through the complex field between art and politics.

A wealth of unpublished material

The exhibition presents almost entirely unknown and as-yet-unpublished material from Renato Mordo's personal records. His entire personal and artistic journey is revealed through photographs, personal items and manuscripts of the director himself.

Special emphasis is placed on Renato Mordo’s Greek path and the impact of the German Occupation of Athens during World War II on him and the entire country.

A life filled with art

He was born in 1894 in Vienna to parents of Jewish descent. He arrived in Athens in 1939 following the imposition of the Hitler regime in Germany, where he had already distinguished himself in avant-garde theatre.

He lived in Athens through the German Occupation and was arrested in 1944, but managed to survive in the Chaidari concentration camp. This event was artistically captured in the play Chaidari.

After the war, he worked at theatres in Turkey, Austria and Israel. He also served as the director of the Opera in Mainz, the capital of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (1952 to 1955).

His contribution was instrumental in the establishment of the Greek National Opera. He directed a total of 19 productions and was the one who recognised the talent of Maria Callas, having worked with her 4 times.

A journey through the exhibits

The exhibits showcase:

  • Part of the stage settings created at the Greek National Opera for his productions Bat and Madama Butterfly (1940).
  • His role in promoting Maria Callas.
  • His cooperation with Marika Kotopouli’s theatre.
  • His regular collaboration with Sofia Vembo.
  • Documents related to his arrest and imprisonment in the Chaidari concentration camp.

A journey back in time

The exhibition focuses on the political conditions that influenced and shaped Renato Mordo’s life. The public learns about:

  • Early anti-Semitism in the Weimar Republic.
  • The mass exodus of German intellectuals and artists after the rise of the Nazis to power.
  • The crimes committed by the German occupying forces in Greece.
  • The December events (Dekemvriana) and the atmosphere of political polarisation that ensued.
  • The often hostile treatment by German bureaucracy after the fall of the Nazi regime.


  • Curator: Torsten Israel
  • Designers: Uwe Bader, Rhineland-Palatinate State Agency for Civic Education & Marita Hoffman, (LLUX publishing house, Ludwigshafen am Rhein)
  • Translations (German, Greek): Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Modern Greek Department) and Ionian University, Corfu (Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting)

Guided tours

Morning guided tours are available for schools, upon arrangement with the Banknote Museum of Ionian Bank. Mr Konstantinos Christopoulos is the contact person for the guided tours (+302661041552).