Did You Know ...

... what opera stars are like offstage?

Whether at the New York Met, La Scala in Milan or the Vienna State Opera:
Cecilia Bartoli and Rolando Villazón are right at home on the world's major operatic stages. Or maybe not? Do they too have completely normal daily lives – far from orchestras, costumes and audiences; Mozart, Puccini and Verdi? Yes! The Italian mezzo-soprano and the Mexican tenor sometimes relax on a picnic in the country, enjoy a spot of tree-climbing, buy vegetables or go to a launderette. The pictures in the 2015 ZEISS Art Calendar prove it!

These moments were captured by Hollywood photographer Douglas Kirkland who achieved fame for his legendary photos of scenes from movies such as 2001, Out of Africa and Titanic. This big name shows that rather than being spontaneous snapshots, these are photos of scenes professionally and impressively composed by an expert. Cecilia Bartoli and Rolando Villazón are sometimes mellow, sometimes playful, then suddenly bring in just a hint of histrionic artifice. But they always represent a couple brimming with energy and emotion – perfectly complementary and in tune; even though they've never performed together before.

Connoisseurs may immediately recognize scenes from the works of Bellini, Bizet, Mozart, Rossini or Wagner in Kirkland's unique images. This is no accident, of course, as he deliberately incorporated allusions to these memorable moments. Appropriately enough, the title of the 2015 ZEISS Art Calendar is Opera with a Twist. Instead of onstage in the traditional manner, these works are performed in the middle of the Mozart City of Salzburg – partly dramatic, partly with a subtle twist, and always in unusual locations.

Douglas Kirkland is the sixth renowned photographer to create the pictures in the ZEISS Art Calender. Since the first edition in 2009, Wim Wenders, Bryan Adams, Ellen von Unwerth, Michel Comte and Mary McCartney have created this exclusive calendar which has meanwhile gained cult status among photography enthusiasts and the media alike. As in the previous years, this limited edition is not for sale and is not available in stores. It is exclusively reserved for customers and friends of ZEISS.


January 28th, 2015