Final staging of classic Covent Garden
Tales of Hoffmann
November - December 2016

John Schlesinger’s great production of Jules Offenbach’s operatic masterpiece The Tales of Hoffmann, with sets by William Dudley and witty, charming costumes by Maria Bjornson, was first staged in 1980 and has been a huge success with critics and audiences for the last thirty-six years. The Royal Opera House have announced that the Autumn 2016 season revival will be its last outing. The cast for this revival is starry, and includes Thomas Hampson and Christine Rice. There will be eight performances running from 7th November 2016 to 3rd December 2016 .

In the Royal Opera House printed programme for Hoffmann, there is is a quote from Mary Fisher, the Head of the Running Wardrobe;

"The costumes were fantastically well made….they are appliqué after appliqué….the moment you see them on stage they look fabulous, The designer Maria Bjornson was absolutely brilliant.”
 
     
 

The Little Prince returns to The Houston Grand Opera
December 2015

Houston Grand Opera, who originally mounted Francesca Zambella's production in 2003 and 2004, are reviving Rachel Portman’s opera of The Little Prince as their 2015 Christmas show.

Based on Antoine de Saint Exupery’s book, the children’s opera was designed by Maria Bjornson shortly before her death in 2002. The staging will run from 4th December - 20th December 2015.

Follow this link for details:
http://www.houstongrandopera.org/scheduletickets/2015-16-season/the-little-prince

 
     
 

Cunning Little Vixen, Greek National Opera House, Athens
March and April 2015

David Pountney's classic production of Leos Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, designed by Maria Bjornson, will be performed at the Olympia Theatre between the 28th March and 5th April 2015.

 
     
 
The Kennedy Centre, on the Potomac River, Washington DC

Little Prince for Kennedy Centre, Washington DC
December 2014

The John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington DC will be producing Rachel Portman's opera The Little Prince with Maria Bjornson's designs, as its Christmas production this year. The performance dates are 19th-21st December 2014.

 
     
 

The Little Prince In Seoul  
Spring 2014 



Francesca Zambello's production of Rachel Portman's opera version of The Little Prince, with designs by Maria Bjornson opens in Seoul, South Korea in April 2014.

The opera performances start on 27th April and continue until 3rd May 2014.

Photo of the C.J. Towol Auditorium at the Seoul Arts Centre

 

       
 
Poster for the Seoul production

Little Prince in Seoul, South Korea
Spring 2014

Maria Bjornson's beautiful designs for Rachel Portman's opera of The Little Prince, (based on Antoine de Saint Exupery's classic book) have been on stage again, in South Korea.

The opera was produced at The Seoul Arts Centre from 27th April 2014 until the 3rd May 2014.

Exterior of the Seoul Arts Centre complex
 
     
 
A charming costume drawing for this much-loved staging

Cunning Little Vixen to Welsh National Opera
Spring 2013

The famous production of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen for Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera, directed by David Pountney and designed by Maria has returned to WNO in Cardiff.
There will be eight performances between February 24th and April 4th 2013.

 
     
 

Don Giovanni revived at Covent Garden
January and February 2012

Francesca Zambello's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni with Maria's designs was performed at the Royal Opera House in January and February 2012.
Erwin Schrott and Gerald Finley shared the role of Don Giovanni which was created for this production in 2002 by Bryn Terfel, who is recognisable in the costume drawing above.

 
     
 
Costume design for the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier

Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera House
December 2009

The celebrated Covent Garden production of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, directed by the great film diretcor John Schlesinger returned to the Royal Opera House for the 2009 Winter season. The fabulous, lavish costumes were designed by Maria Bjornson and sets were by her friend and colleague William Dudley. This revival marked the 25 years anniversary of the production which was first produced was in Autumn 1984, it is one of the most glamorous and popular of the Royal Opera House’s classic productions.

The conductor was Kirill Petrenko

The Royal Opera House website has more details:
http://www.roh.org.uk/whatson/production.aspx?pid=10620

 
     
 

Maria Bjornson lecture at the first International Festival of Scenic Arts
23 September 2009

The first International Festival of Scenic arts, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 23rd September 2009 included a tribute to Maria Bjornson.

The Victorian lecture theatre was full to overflowing for the event. V&A staff said they had never seen the theatre so well attended. Maria’s friends and colleagues were squashed in alongside theatre design students and scenographers from various countries. 

Impresario and designer Adam Pollock, an authority on Maria’s work, gave an illustrated presentation. Theatre directors David Pountney, Jonathan Kent and Bill Dudley then joined him on stage to discuss Maria’s achievements and influence and to share reminiscences of their friend.

For details of the event please follow the links below:
http://www.scenic-fest.com/the-programme-day-by-day.html
http://www.dexigner.com/design_events/international-festival-of-scenic-arts.html

 
     
 

Special Maria Bjornson tribute issue of Scenographer Magazine
Launched 23 September 2009

The Scenographer, the international magazine of theatrical design, has dedicated a special issue to the life and work of Maria Bjornson. The magazine  was launched in September 2009 at the International Festival of Scenic Arts held in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The magazine may be purchased direct from The Scenographer:
http://www.thescenographer.com/
email: info@thescenographer.com

 
     
 

Cunning Little Vixen in Tel Aviv
February 2009

The classic production, designed by Maria and directed by David Pountney was staged by Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv in February and March 2009.

 
     
 
A costume design for the Tales of Hoffman

Tales of Hoffman revived by Covent Garden in Winter 2008 season
November 2008

The famous 1980 Royal Opera House production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, directed by John Schlesinger, with costumes by Maria and sets by Bill Dudley, was revived in the Winter season twenty-eight years after its first performance. This much loved staging, thought by many to be the finest Hoffman of modern times, had a star cast led by Rolando Villazon as Hoffman, and Christine Rice as Giulietta. Maria’s stunning costume designs for this production are among her most celebrated.

 
     
 
Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily

House of the Dead in Palermo
October 2008

The classic Welsh National Opera production of Janacek’s House of the Dead, directed by David Pountney and designed by Maria was staged in the magnificent Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily in October 2008.

 

The Teatro Massimo website has more information:
/www.teatromassimo.it/stagione/op08DaUnaCasaDiMorti_en.html

 
     
 
A costume design by maria for the Royal Opera House production of Don Giovanni


Don Giovanni at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
September 2008

Don Giovanni directed by Francesca Zambello and designed by Maria was performed at Covent Garden in Autumn 2008.
The opera ran from September 8th to October 2nd.

The Royal Opera House website has more information:
www.roh.org.uk/whatson/production.aspx?pid=6507

 
     
 

The Little Prince
May 2008

Rachel Portman's opera The Little Prince, designed by Maria, opened in San Francisco on May 2nd 2008, and ran until May 11th. The San Francisco Opera website has more information:
www.sfopera.com/opera.asp?o=261

A flyer for the San Francisco Little Prince

The production attracted enthusiastic reviews:
“…magical production, with colorful sets and costumes by the late Maria Bjornson...conjures up a fairy-tale world of dreams and caricatures.” San Francisco Chronicle, 5 may 2008
For more review quotes please click here (PDF, 0.1MB)

The author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, was featured in an article in the Daily Mail on March 17th 2008:
Messerchmitt pilot Horst Rippert, 88, said he would have held his fire if he had known the man flying the Lightning fighter was renowned French novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(PDF, 0.8MB)

 
     
 
Poster for the current revival of Macbeth. Click for detail.

La Scala Macbeth revival
April 2008

Graham Vick’s 1997 La Scala production of Verdi’s Macbeth, designed by Maria Bjornson, was revived by the great Milan opera house for a short season this Spring.

Maria’s 1997 costume design for the character of
Macbeth for La Scala Milan.
 
     
 

Maria Productions at the Royal Opera House
Summer 2007

Two productions designed by Maria Bjornson were revived at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London in the summer of 2007:

Katya Kabanova by Janacek, directed by Trevor Nunn
Janice Watson sang the role of Katya. The cast also included: Kurt Streit, Toby Spence and Felicity Palmer.
The great Janecek musician Sir Charles Mackerras conducted.

Don Giovanni by Mozart, directed by Francesca Zambello
The cast included Erwin Schrott and Anna Netrebko. Ivor Bolton and David Syrus were the two conductors involved.

 
     
 
Maria Bjornson lecture in Prague
June 24, 2007

Adam Pollock gave a key talk at the PRAGUE QUADRENNIAL, the big four-yearly theatre design event, on June 24th 2007 about the life and work of Maria, aided by Redcase Ltd and the Maria Bjornson Archive. Archivist Michael Lee prepared a Power Point presentation to go with the talk showing many of Maria's designs, film clips and stills. There was much interest and the response has led to discussions towards mounting an exhibition in Milan as well as the talk being given at various design colleges.

 
     
 

The Little Prince
May 2007

The Little Prince opened for five perfomances in May 2007 at the Lithuanian National Opera & Ballet Theatre in Vilnius. Olivia and Robert Temple attended the first night and were happy to sponsor the production through Redcase Ltd. Most of the fabrics were bought in London from the supplier used by Maria Bjornson and the costumes were made up in Lithuania. The set model was sent from the archive studio to the theatre in Vilnius and Redcase was also able to assist in other ways, primarily with financial contributions.

The programme, with Lithuanian text, was illustrated with Maria's designs.
 
     
 

click to enlarge

Phantom of the Opera: Behind the Mask
December 26, 2006, BBC2

An inside story of the making of PHANTOM was shown on BBC2 on December 26, 2006.

 
     
 

Phantom of the Opera
Las Vegas, June 25, 2006

An all-new 90-minute production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA opened on June 25, 2006 at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. Please visit the Phantom section for more information.

http://www.venetian.com/phantom/index.cfm

 
     
 

Phantom of the Opera
Hong Kong, August 2006

A production of The Phantom of The Opera was shown at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Kowloon.

 
     
 

The Masked Ball

Phantom Masked Ball
New York City, January 9, 2006

On this day THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running musical production in the history of Broadway, with its 7,486th performance. To celebrate the event, Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Cameron Mackintosh invited a selected audience to a gala performance at the Majestic Theatre, followed by a Masked Ball at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom. To coincide with this, a tribute to Maria appeared in VARIETY, the show business weekly. This article has been reproduced on this website in the 'Phantom' section - please click here to view it.

The Masked Ball Invitation - click to enlarge