CARMEN, TOSCA, MADAMA BUTTERLY… TODAY MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ, WEARING EXCEPTIONAL BURBERRY’S COSTUMES, RE-ENACTS THE ENDS FOR LOVE OF MARIA CALLAS’S HEROINES
Text by Fiammetta Cesana
Love is the sweetest death, and the most brutal one. And for who experienced it seven different times, well, it is pure heinous beauty, that only the magic of theater can bring to life.
For Maria Callas, Goodness and troubled woman, love was fatal seven times. From Carmen, the beautiful gypsy working in a cigar-factory in Seville in 1820s, who was killed by Sergeant José because she preferred another man, to the faithful and blindly jealous Tosca, who around the same years in Rome, was willing to kill and commit suicide for love. From Lucia of Lammermoor who felt in love with Edgardo, a family’s rivalry in Scotland of 16th century, to Madama Butterly, or Cho Cho-san, the Japanese lady in the early 1900s betrayed and abandoned by her husband, US naval officer who left her fo a western woman. From the priestess Norma delle Gallie, who chose to pay for her sins by going to the stake together with her beloved Pollione, to Desdemona, a pioneer of feminism against the 17th-century Venetian patriarchal society, who married the Moor Othello without asking for her father’s permission. Till the worldly Violetta Valery, that following events considered traviati by the nineteenth-century public, it seemed that love would save her from illness but ended up dying at the feet of her beloved Alfredo.
Women of different epochs and cultures, all who rebelled against social conventions, carrying on battles that do not seem so ancient actually, tenacious, enflamed by passion and desire of freedom, all ready to sacrifice everything, including their own existence, for love. The have been all re-brought to life by the masterful interpretation of Maria Callas.
Another woman – of whom still today we have the fortune to witness her revolutionary (art) deeds – that makes so bravely love the stronghold of her artistic research to count amid her most memorable performances the heart wrenching encounter, after a decade, with her greatest love, is Marina Abramović.
Today the internationally admired, Serbian-born artist decided to celebrate the ineluctable power of love by staging her first lyrical performance, entitled “7 Deaths of Maria Callas”. Realized in collaboration with the composer Marko Nikodijević, the pièce is dedicated to the heroines of love played by the Divine soprano.
As for Callas, an American of Greek origin, Abramović also found art and love in Italy and in the Italians’ talent. Her friendship with the Apulian designer Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s chief creative officer, began many years ago and has now finally resulted in an artistic project, which for both represents the natural evolution of the creative dialogue bonded by love. Art and fashion come together in “7 Deaths of Maria Callas” in a perfectly dramatic way, as the theater requires.
“I have wanted to make ‘7 Deaths’ for 30 years. Dying of heartbreak is the common thread that unites every work speaking of love and its various forms, a feeling that is also the basis of my relationship with Riccardo. When the opportunity for this project materialized, there was no other team I wanted to work with: Riccardo made all the costumes because together we are love, he is fashion and I am art, two worlds that intersect in a creative dialogue of love, respect and freedom. I am so proud of this teamwork and grateful to Riccardo for teaching me to be elegant and confident as a woman, in my life and in my performances.” – Marina Abramović
Abramović, who directed and designed the set and who also created a film with Willem Dafoe for the occasion, also takes the stage wearing sensational Burberry’s costumes exclusively designed for the opera.
“7 Deaths of Maria Callas” debuted on September 1st at the Bavarian State Opera of Monaco, Germany. And from today, the performance is visible on demand on Staatsoper.Tv for 30 days.