Sooner or later, any woman singing in opera will find herself dying a dramatic death onstage. The most-famous arias in the history of opera are hers to sing. Maria Callas, too, perished many a time in the course of her career, and performance icon Marina Abramović is now interpreting seven of her stage deaths, decontextualizing them and rendering them herself, with the expirations – all by different means - projected on a video screen. The ritualised pain is analogous to the life of Maria Callas, whose heart was constantly being broken by some man or other. While the video runs, seven sopranos sing the Callas arias live. Abramović herself appears onstage at the end, fusing performance with the real-life death of Callas. In 7 DEATHS OF MARIA CALLAS the Serbian artist deconstructs opera, placing it in relation to performance art both as her personal tribute to one of the greatest singers of the modern age and as a snapshot of a life devoted to art, with all the pain and fascination that that entails.
Yugoslavian-born Marina Abramović has been a major figure in the art scene and performance-art community since the 1970s. Her video partner here is the American actor Willem Dafoe, known for, among other projects, his rendition of Vincent van Gogh in »At Eternity’s Gate« and his membership of the Whooster Group. Complementing the original arias from the seven operas is a new work by the young Serbian composer Marko Nikodijević.