The Amici della Scala have added another 4 volumes to their collection of illustrated mini-books on the Teatro alla Scala and its collaborators. The complete collection now numbers 36 titles.
Vittoria Crespi Morbio has kept her habitual critcal eye on these latest volumes producing four gems: Alessandro Sanquirino, the set designer active during the Napoleonic yhears who designed the first productions of ‘Norma’ and ‘The Thieving Magpie’; Renzo Vespignani who designed for the theatre during the 60s and 70s; architect Gae Aulenti (the Musée d’Orsay is amongst her influential international projects) who collaborated most notably with Luca Ronconi designing the legendary ‘Il Viaggio a Reims’ production in 1985; and Cecil Beaton who, apart from photographing several La Scala artists, also had his productions of ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Marguerite and Armand’ presented at the theatre.
The Beaton volume suffers from the small format – only 12cm by 17cm – which can provide a starting point for admiring his work, but photographic reproductions of this size can’t begin to mimic the originals. The biography and notes (in Italian) however are detailed and make a useful reference for Beaton’s work, and a lengthy essay makes fascinating reading.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.