Artists, Opera

The Opera of Marina Abramovic

The Serbian artist Marina Abramovic is widely known for her audacious performances that explored the limits of the body. After four decades of active work, she referrers to herself as the “grandmother of the performance”.


But today I won’t talk about her performances, I’ll talk about her project Seven Deaths, which in the original idea would be a film with a script written by Petter Skavlan, that is now turning into an opera, which she will direct herself.

In it, Abramovic will play the Greek opera singer Maria Callas dying in seven different operas including Tosca, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly and Carmen.

Abramovic is since long date a big admirer of Maria Callas: “Callas said that when you perform, half of your brain has to be extremely conscious and the other half extremely free. That really struck a chord. Callas’s statement has opened a whole universe for me and I thought I should do a project about ‘La Divina’”.

callas tosca
Maria Callas in ‘Tosca’

Every tragic opera ends with the heroin’s death. She dies for country, for honor, because of jealousy or disease; whichever way, she always meets her end.”

The death is not a stranger subject to Abramovic, she tackled it many times in her theatrical work The life and death of Marina Abramovic, that it was awarded at the Manchester International Festival in 2011.

The idea of Seven Deaths is an old project. Now aged 71, Abramovic thinks constantly about her own mortality and recently in an interview she talked about her consciousness that she is living the last part of her life and how it affects and concerns her “how much time do you really have, and how do you translate what you have done in your life for future generations. This concerns me a lot.”. Perhaps, this is the reason why Seven Deaths is finally been released thirty years on.

The production is due to debut at the Munich Opera House in 2020, with plans for it to tour to Covent Garden in London.


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