Sep 1, 2020
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Riccardo Tisci creates costumes for Marina Abramović’s 7 Deaths of Maria Callas

Sep 1, 2020

Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci has a new theatrical manoeuvre - creating the costumes for Marina Abramović’s latest project 7 Deaths of Maria Callas.

Sketch by Riccardo Tisci of Burberry for tonight's debut of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas -© Courtesy of Burberry - © Cortesia da Burberry

The performance artist’s latest opera project, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas will have its world premiere this Tuesday night at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany.

Marina Abramović developed the opera with the composer Marko Nikodijević - using famous Callas scenes from Carmen, Tosca, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, Madame Butterfly and La Traviata, to illuminate the dramatic and tragic life of the American-born Greek soprano. For Carmen, Tisci dreamed up a red oversized crepe Toledo jacket  glistening with crystal embroidery; while for Lucia di Lammermoor Riccardo invented a pearl satin gown with floral motifs encrusted with Chantilly lace and accompanied by a floor-sweeping mask-veil.

Besides directing and designing the set, Abramović will perform on stage. She also collaborated with the actor Willem Dafoe on a film created especially for the world premiere. 7 Deaths of Maria Callas will subsequently enjoy performances in Berlin, Athens and Paris.

“I am a romantic dreamer at my core, so this was a very easy project to get involved with. The subject is one of love in all its forms, from the light to the dark. Marina is one of my great personal loves and I feel privileged to call her my friend and my family,” said Tisci.

“She is one of the world’s most daring and brave artists, and it’s an incredible honor to collaborate with her once again on a subject that is so close to both of our hearts,” added the Burberry CCO.

In effect, the costume design for 7 Deaths of Maria Callas was the fruit of a collaboration between close friends Marina Abramović and Riccardo Tisci - a joint creative experience were dramatic, theatrical costumes were reinterpreted through a modern lens. To many people, Callas is the definition of a Diva, a singer so gifted that Leonard Bernstein called her “the Bible of opera.”

“I have wanted to make 7 Deaths for 30 years. To die from a broken heart is the thread which draws together each opera in a project which is centered around love and its forms, as much as my relationship with Riccardo. When the opportunity for this project started to become real, there was no other team I wanted to work with: Riccardo had to make all the costumes because we are love, he is fashion and I am art, two worlds that cross over in a creative dialogue of love, respect and freedom. I am so proud of this work as a team and grateful to Riccardo for teaching me how to be elegant and confident as a woman in my life and in my performances,” said the Serbian-born Abramović.

For opera buffs and lovers of the performance art unable to reach Munich tonight, Marina Abramović's 7 Deaths of Maria Callas will also be live streamed on Staatsoper.Tv on 5 September 2020 at 6:30pm CEST, and will be available to watch on demand for 30 days from 7 September.


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