7 Deaths of Maria Callas – Marina Abramović's Opera Performance to be Live Streamed
3 September 2020
The Bavarian State Opera began its 2020–21 season with the premiere of Marina Abramović's opera performance 7 Deaths of Maria Callas. The dedication to the iconic soprano moves through the dramatic climax of seven arias, focusing on the moments of each on-stage death. Abramović concludes the show herself by enacting the real death of Callas (who died alone of a heart attack in 1977, in the grand Paris apartment where she’d spent her last years living in exile and isolation). As a huge multi-media production, it includes elements of new music, performance, and video, includes costumes by Riccardo Tisci, and films featuring Willem Dafoe as Abramović’s recurring assassin (a figure who represents Aristotle Onassis – the man who Abramović conceptualises as the personification of her heartbreak).
Originally scheduled for April, the performance was delayed due to the ongoing health crisis. Since then adjustments to the 2,300-seat state opera house have been made to allow social distancing for the orchestra, and space for up to 200 guests. A Live Streaming of the performance will take place on Saturday 5 September with a pre performance talk at 6.30PM CEST / 12.30PM EST followed by the performance at 7.00PM CEST / 1.00PM EST. A recording of the performance will be available to stream for 30 days.
In an interview with Artnet, Marina Abramović shared –– “I see a lot of myself in Callas. We’re both Sagittarius, we’re both intensely emotional, but fragile at the same time. I almost encountered a similar fate,” she added, saying that Callas died from a broken heart. “The difference [is that] my work saved me.” Abramović says that the opera work is about female empowerment. “I wanted to show the strength and perseverance that a woman can have. Not all heartbreak ends in tragedy. I believe in hope.”
Learn more, and watch the Live Stream via Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper website here.
Image: 7 Deaths of Maria Callas – Leah Hawkins (Desdemona) and Marina Abramović © Wilfried Hösl