Maria Björnson - The Phantom of the Opera
Maria Björnson was the scenic designer of the Phantom of the Opera. She won many prizes for this design, the most notable being the Tony Award, Outer Critics’ Award and Drama Critic Award. She also worked on numerous other productions such as the Tempest, the Cherry Orchard, the Lonely Road, Hamlet, the Way of the World and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
She was an illegitimate child, born in 1949 to a Romanian mother and a Norwegian father. Both her parents were involved in Theatre. Growing ill, and unable to take care of her, Björnson's mother placed her with an acquaintance until she recovered. Björnson suffered from many insecurities and anxieties throughout her life, blaming herself, as an illegitimate child, for her mother’s hardships. As a child she drew often, which was what would lead her to her career as a set designer. Though she initially intended to be a painter, the artist Cecil Collins recommended her take up scenic design instead, which she did at Central School of Art and Design. She passed away in 2002. Her life was a difficult one, and the tragedies and obstacles that she managed to overcome are what make her an inspiration.
http://mariabjornson.com/about_maria.html - 9th October 2013
http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/people/creativ... - 8th October 2013