Opera Scotland

Emanuele Luzzati Suggest updates

Born Genoa, 3 June 1921.

Died 20 January 2007.

Italian painter, theatre designer, illustrator, film director and animator.

Luzzati began his art studies in Genoa, but after Mussolini's persecution of the Jews began in 1938, his family emigrated to Switzerland. He completed his studies in Lausanne, and became interested in theatre design after seeing a revival supervised by Stravinsky of The Soldier's Tale. He worked in collaboration with two directors in particular, Alessandro Fersen and Franco Enriquez, and with the latter formed a theatre group La Compagnia dei Quattri.

He was a successful painter, film director and animator, and two of his short films using Rossini overtures were nominated for Academy Awards - La gazza ladra (1965) and Pulcinella (using Il turco in Italia 1973).

His theatre designs often used a series of techniques such as sliding screens, revolving pillars, and curtains, all of which provided for quick scene changes and visual contrast. He worked with most of the major Italian opera houses, and his old friend Alessandro Fersen directed the double-bill by Malipiero and Dallapiccola that came to Edinburgh.

Enriquez brought him to Britain to design The Magic Flute at Glyndebourne in 1963. The staging was widely admired and revived many times (touring to Edinburgh in 1971), and only being replaced by the arrival of a new version by John Cox and David Hockney. He went on to design a series of Mozart productions with Enriquez at Glyndebourne - Don Giovanni (1967), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1968) and Così fan tutte (1969). He also designed the Michael Hadjimischev staging of Macbeth (1965) and John Cox's of Il turco in Italia (1970). His other designs for British companies were both in collaboration with Colin Graham - the English Opera Group staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which used the sliding panel technique to wonderful effect to create moody woodland scenes, and Scottish Opera's elegant 1969 Cenerentola, which benefitted from the quick changes and spectacular costumes.

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