Artist of the Week: Marina Abramović

Visual Artist Bring ‘7 Deaths of Maria Callas’ to Bayerische Staatsoper

By Francisco Salazar

The 2020-21 season is officially here and many opera companies are beginning to open including the Bayerische Staatsoper, which will open with one of the most anticipated new works of the year. The company will open with the world premiere of “7 Deaths of Maria Callas,” a work that was set to originally open during the spring of the 2019-20 season and later travel throughout Europe. However, due to the pandemic, it was canceled and later rescheduled in Munich.

The work is among the most intriguing, especially because it was created by visual artist and legend Marina Abramović.

The Serbian artist is best known for exploring body art, endurance art, and feminist art and working with the relationship between performer and audience. Abramović has worked in film and on stage with such artists as Lady Gaga, Robert Wilson, Jay-Z, and Alan Rickman, among others. She has also performed at the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, and all over the world. This will be one of her first excursions in the world of opera and in the new work she will portray la Divina Maria Callas.

In a statement, Abramović noted, “In this performance, we are taking a very conceptual approach to opera. We are stripping the usual elements of opera down to the minimum, and are bridging the elements of video and performance, narrative storytelling, and music with conceptual simplicity. I want to reenact the death scenes from seven operas – seven deaths that Maria Callas has died before me.”

“7 Deaths of Maria Callas” is set to showcase music from “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Norma,” “La Traviata,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Carmen,” “Otello,” and “Tosca.” For audiences not in Munich, Abramović’s project will travel to numerous other European theaters. The work will also be streamed by the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Related Works

For those not familiar with Abramović’s work, we recommend you watch her “Balkan Erotic Epic,” in “Destricted,” a compilation of erotic films, and segment “Dangerous Games” in another film compilation “Stories on Human Rights.”

You can also check out the documentary “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” to learn more about the Serbian artist’s journey.


Artist of the Week