A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE MARIA BJORNSON ( 1949- 2002  )

Archivist Michael.J.Lee has created a unique digital archive of this  outstanding Romanian/British stage and Costume designer who tragically died in  2002 at the height of her creativity.     

The archive is a resource study available to researchers.

Maria’s work will be presented on a large screen by her colleagues and collaborator Adam Pollock Director of the Battignano Opera Festival in Italy who will talk about her life and workover 35 years.

Many people consider Maria Bjornson was the finest theatre and opera designer of her generation. When the London Observer newspaper in 1990 asked her peers whom they considered to be the greatest of their number, she was voted ‘the designer’s designer’. In December 2002 Maria died tragically early and at the height of her powers. 

In a three decade career she designed over 120 productions, winning many international awards, including two Tonys. Maria won two Prague Quadrennial awards:  in 1979 she was part of the British Theatre Design Team awarded The Golden Triga and In 1987 she was awarded the Silver Medal in the thematic section for her work on The Cunning Little Vixen and From the House of the Dead (both by Janacek). 

What was unusual in Maria Bjornson’s theatrical output was that her ability to capture a historical period in minutely observed and researched detail was combined with a sense for bold modern design. It is rare for a theatrical designer to bridge these two worlds as successfully. Designs for the different pieces Bjornson worked on look quite different in style from show to show. This chameleon-like ability gave her a range and versatility that few of her peers could match.  Bjornson had a wonderful eye for humorous detail, enlivening many productions with witty and charming subversions of the familiar.

DVD’s will show the transformations at the beginning of “ Phantom of the Opera “ and  a sample from “ Beauty “ amongst other works.