Serbian artist and Dazed favourite Marina Abramović has announced that she is turning her Seven Deaths project into an opera, 30 years after she first had the idea. Abramović will direct the production, which will open at the Munich Opera House in 2020 and then travel to London’s Covent Garden.
In the production, which was originally planned to be a film, Abramović will play Greek opera singer Maria Callas, her lifelong hero, dying in seven different operas. Her performances will also be filmed and later screened as part of the project. Speaking to the Art Newspaper, Abramović said “I have been thinking about this romantic idea of dying for love for a long time,” noting that Callas herself “died of a broken heart”, as do many of the characters she will portray.
Abramović’s Seven Deaths was at first meant to be a film, employing seven of the most influential film directors in the world to produce a ten minute scene each. Although by late 2014 many directors including Roman Polanski and Alejandro González Iñárritu (of The Revenant) had signed on, the two were later reported to no longer be working on the project. The script, which was written by Norweigan writer Petter Skavlan, is now being adapted for the opera.
Although Abramović recently told Dazed how to live, she seems to be considering, at 71, how the end of her life may be approaching. “I am so conscious that this is the last part of my life,” she says, “how much time do you really have, and how do you translate what you have done in your life for future generations. This concerns me a lot.” The approach Abramović had towards her own mortality is one that is more practical than emotional, and is perhaps why she is finally realising her Seven Deaths 30 years on.