Cindy Sherman Plays Maria Callas and Makes Opera Cool in New Francesco Vezzoli Film

Cindy Sherman in Francesco

Thanks to artist Francesco Vezzoli, master of disguise Cindy Sherman will take a turn on the silver screen in a role based on the life of late opera star Maria Callas.

The piece, which was shot last May in Paris at the Théâtre des Variétés, will be screened as part of Rufus Wainwright’s opera, “Prima Donna,” a dramatic feature about an aging soprano. The film will premiere next month during Wainwright’s concert in Greece.

“What made me want to do it is the fear that the character is going through. She’s old now. Can she live up to her audience’s expectations? I think it’ll free me up to just let it all hang out,” Sherman told Vanity Fair.

Rufus Wainwright. Photo: Tina Tyrell.

Rufus Wainwright.
Photo: Tina Tyrell.

The Art Newspaper reports that thanks to Rome’s Tirelli Costume Archives, Sherman was even able to don some of Callas’s dazzling costumes.

“Of all postwar artists, she has explored human identity in all its facets in the deepest ways,” Vezzoli, who is known for satirizing celebrity and popular culture in his films, said of his choice to cast Sherman.

Wainwright, for his part, hopes the collaboration will help keep opera relevant. “It’s opera. Those either last for 200 years or you never hear of them again,” he says. “I have already very much taken the position of the dead composer!”

We think Vezzoli and Wainwright have the right idea: if anyone can make opera cool again, it’s Cindy Sherman.

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The Real Unreal Dazzle of Francesco Vezzoli at MOCA LA

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