Maria Callas. The most celebrated opera diva of all time. When it comes to capturing that extraordinary essence, only another legend will do; someone like the world’s most famous performance artist. In one of 2020's hottest tickets, Serbian artist provocateur Marina Abramovic will play Callas, her lifelong idol, with Hollywood star Willem Dafoe (as Callas' great love Aristotle Onassis), in a major international co-production between the Greek National Opera, Bavaria State Opera and Berlin State Opera, Opera De Paris and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, with music composed by Marko Nikodijević.
Twenty-five years in the making, Abramovic’s radical conceptual opera revisits seven of Callas' operatic deaths in defining roles like Tosca, Carmen and Madame Butterfly, then turns to the singer’s real and “final” death of a heart attack in Paris in 1977. To Abramovic, Callas was a woman who suffered greatly for love in her personal life, mirroring the heroines she played so majestically. Abramovic's most well-known works to date are probably her recent The Artist is Present (visitors were granted several minutes to stare into her eyes in silence), and 1974’s Rhythm O (over six hours, the audience used 72 objects on a table—including a knife, loaded gun and scissors—against the artist in increasingly aggressive ways ). “I have loved Callas ever since I saw her in the late 50s,” Abramovic says of her latest passion project. “I see many similarities between us. In certain make up and clothes, I could pass for her; she had a really difficult mother, which I also share; and I almost died from a broken heart too.” Presale starts on 3 February. Stay updated here.