NEWS: The ENO to Present Marina Abramović’s 7 Deaths of Maria Callas  

The renowned performance artist Marina Abramović’s opera project will receive its UK premiere this November.

It has been announced that 7 Deaths of Maria Callas will open the English National Opera’s 2023/2024 season, playing at the London Coliseum from the 3rd to the 11th November 2023. Tickets are on sale now.

The deaths of ‘the Tigress’, as Callas was called, are recreated featuring some of the arias that were most important to the singer. In the production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, Marina Abramović and co-performer Willem Dafoe will die seven times in seven films. Seven singers including Sarah Tynan, Nadine Benjamin, Eri Nakamura, Aigul Akhmetshina, Karah Son and Sophie Bevan perform well-known arias by Bellini, Bizet, Donizetti, Puccini and Verdi while Abramović herself appears on stage.

Abramović first heard Maria Callas when she was fourteen years old in Yugoslavia. Since Callas’s voice caught her attention at a young age, Abramović has been drawn to their similarities; from their shared physical features to their personal attributes and relationships. As well as appearing in this opera project, Abramović has also directed and designed the production.

Immortalised through her place in popular culture, Callas (sometimes referred to as ‘La Divina’ – the divine one) is invoked on stage through a series of her most famous arias from La traviata, Tosca, Madam Butterfly, Carmen, Otello, Lucia di Lamermoor and Norma, with new music by Serbian Composer Marko Nikodijević.

The award-winning ENO Orchestra is Israeli-American Conductor Yoel Gamzou, and the costumes have been designed by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry. 

Marina Abramović says: ‘One of the ways that Maria Callas has inspired me is through her mix between strength and fragility that you can see in both her work and life. That mix became the common ground between her and I and provided me with the foundation to produce this work. I am very honoured that I can perform the 7 Deaths of Maria Callas at the English National Opera in London which has such a long and rich history of incredible theatre. I always refer to her comment when she said, “When I perform I make sure that one part of my brain is in complete control and the other part is loose and free.’

The production premiered in September 2020 at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper and has since toured to co-production partners: the Greek National Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opéra national de Paris, and the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli. Revivals in the 2022/23 season include performances at the Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. 

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