Dutch designer Marcel Wanders creates architectural, industrial and interior pieces and is head of his eponymous, 40-strong studio in Amsterdam. He has created pieces for many renowned brands including Baccarat, Louis Vuitton and Puma. His latest collaboration is with Bill Amberg on a series of bespoke hides.
What first sparked your interest in opera?
I once visited La Scala in Milan with my family and I remember my father =standing on a chair in an empty theatre singing a Schubert aria to my mother. I was captivated by his passion, his conviction. I was so impressed by the amount of pure emotion that can be expressed through opera.
Who introduced you to opera?
Well, my long-standing love for opera was actually the result of my love for a young woman who was my girlfriend at the time. She introduced me to the opera and I fell in love with it.
Which are your favourite operas?
I very much enjoy Tannhäuser by Wagner, Madame Butterfly by Puccini and Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera. Beyond the influential aspect, what mostly draws me to these operas is how controversial, rich and exciting they are. I think they remind me of the kind of design that I strive to do — maybe not controversial as a goal
per se, but certainly surprising, human and unexpected.
Who is your favourite composer?
Wilhelm Wagner, a German composer and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas.
Who do you consider to be the greatest singer, living or dead?
To me, that would have to be the soprano, Maria Callas.
And what about the best librettist?
I love many, but if I had to choose, I would select Lorenzo Da Ponte. He started as an Italian opera librettist and poet and has 28 operas to his credit. He was even a priest. But he is close to my heart because he wrote libretti for three of three of Mozart’s most celebrated operas: Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così Fan Tutte.