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7 deaths of Maria Callas

The Serbian artist Marina Abramović is the mother of performance art. Behind her lies a splendid career spanning over four decades which has contributed greatly to redefining the image of the female body in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her works are autobiographical and draw on the suffering caused by disillusionment and dramatic love affairs. As a result they find a special echo in the life of the great diva Maria Callas (1923-1977), who embodied mortal passions in both opera and private life.

Abramović presents this show, which combines opera, live art, performance art and video creation, to mark the centenary of the birth of Callas, also known as La Divina Assoluta. Entitled The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas, it contains some of the iconic arias which studded the Greek soprano's career and recall the countless women "sacrificed" by 19th century composers in their toy theatres where women were invariably the victims.

Abramović's passion, obsession and empathy with the myth and tragedy of the famous virtuoso soprano reach their peak in this new immersive experience based on the premature deaths of seven characters – ranging from the abandoned bride to the deserted mistress – who are also self-portraits of the artist who plays them.

Callas's complex personal life was marked by lost loves and a lonely death and she lives again before our eyes in these reinterpretations of death scenes. In each traumatic moment of loss, love and longing, Abramović honours and inhabits Callas's own spirit, suggesting the possibility of reimagining and redefining these roles for future generations of singers.

With the support of:

7 Deaths of Maria Callas
Scenes from operas by Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Bizet, Gaetano Donizetti, Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi 
World premiere 01/09/2020 at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich 
Libretto by Petter Skavlan and Marina Abramović 
Operatic project: Marina Abramović  
Music: Marko Nikodijević  

  • Approximate running time 1h 30m

Artistic profile

Operistic project
Marina Abramović
Music
Marko Nikodijević
Stage director
Marina Abramović
Audiovisual director
Nabil Elderkin
Dramaturgy
Benedikt Stampfli
Costumes
Riccardo Tisci
Lighting
Urs Schönebaum
Sound
Luka Kozlovacki
Audiovisuals for the intermezzi
Marco Brambilla
Actress and live performance
Marina Abramović
Actor in the audiovisual
Willem Dafoe
Coproduction
Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Greek National Opera of Athens and Opéra national of Paris

Cast

VIOLETTA VALÉRYGilda Fiume
FLORIA TOSCAVanessa Goikoetxea
DESDEMONABenedetta Torre
CIO-CIO-SANAntonia Ahyoung Kim
CARMENRinat Shaham
LUCIA ASHTONLeonor Bonilla
NORMAMarta Mathéu
Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Pablo Assante, director)
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Conductor
Antonio Méndez

March 2023

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