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Transcript of Maria Björnson
The Phantom of the Opera
‘Everyone who worked with Maria fell under her spell and was amazed by her devotion and attention to detail’.
Maria studied at Byam Shaw School of Arts, and after recommendations from artist Cecil Collins, she attended Central School of Art and Design in London.
She went on to work with;
Glascow's Citizen Theatre,
the Scottish Opera,
the Wexford Festival,
Sydney Opera House,
De Nederlandse Operastichting,
The Royal Shakespeare Company, Grand Opera in Geneva
... to name a few.
Carlotta Masquerade / Rosie Ash. 2.1. 1986. Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. Search the Collections |Björnson, Maria (Miss). Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Jays, David. "Maria Bjornson." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Dec. 2002. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
"Maria Bjornson." Maria Bjornson. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
"Maria Elena Bjornson." National Portrait Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Midgette, Anne. "Maria Bjornson, 53, Designer For Opera, Theater and Dance." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2002. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Robsahm, Peter. "Maria Bjornson (1949 - 2002)." Find A Grave Memorial. N.p., 19 May 2004. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
"Tribute to Romanian Designer Maria Bjornson." The Romanian Cultural Centre in London. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Maria Elena Viviane Eva Bjornstjerne-Bjornson was born on February the 16th, 1949 in Paris, France to a proud Romanian woman named Mia Prodan de Kisbunn. Her father, Norwegian, Bjorn Bjornson, was the grandson of 1903 Nobel Laureate Bjornstjerne Bjornson (Literature), who choose not to be part of Maria's life until well into her adulthood..
Mia, an unwed mother at a point in time where this greatly stigmatized a woman, struggled to make ends meet. This meant that Maria was left in the care of others most of her childhood. Regardless, the two were known to be very close throughout Maria's life.
Scale model of the original The Phantom of the Opera, London 1986. Photograph Jonathan Greet .
Little Maria and her mother Mia
Furniture designs (Hedda Gabler, Duke of York's Theatre London 1977
Set models for The Valkyrie, (Wagner) English National Opera 1983
Model of a grand baroque interior
Details from the original London production
Photograph Jonathan Greet
Design for Carlotta in the Masquerade , 1986
Apart from her meticulously detailed set designs, she was also known for her tireless attention to detail with costuming.
The Redcase Historical Archive of Costumery, Clothing, Shoes, Materials, and the Related Trades.
The Redcase History of Opera Archive
This musical will be celebrating 28 years on the stage in September 2014. To date it is the most successful musical production of all time, with hundreds of millions of people having seen it and 70+ awards. It has been performed in 30 countries, 151 cities, and in 13 languages. It takes 27 articulated lorries to transport the set on tour. The drapery is made up of 2,230 meters of fabric, 900 of them were specially dyed. The tassels alone make up 226 meters, and they were all hand beaded and combed. There are 22 scene changes and a total of 281 candles are used in the performance. Not mentioning the chandelier...is rigged to falls from house to the apron. The original was built by five people in four weeks, at three meters wide and weighing one ton.
Maria was found dead in her bathroom on Friday, December the 13th, 2002. Cause of death was undeclared. She suffered from epilepsy. During her breif, 53 year, lifespan she worked on over 120 productions. She left three designs behind, at the time of her death, all of which were collaborations with director Francesca Zambello.
The Little Prince
(Houston Grand Opera)
(Opéra Bastille in Paris)
Francesca Zambello's Met production of Les Troyens.
© Beth Bergman 2013
Tyler Polen in The Little Prince. Photo: Carol Rosegg, courtesy New York City Opera
Il Trovatore, photograph by Eric Mahoudeau © National Opera de Paris