Last night in the glamorous foyer of the La Scala Theatre (Ridotto dei Palchi ‘Arturo Toscanini') the Amici della Scala awarded an Honorary Membership of the society to Italian theatre designer Luisa Spinatelli. She is one of several Italian designers who, outside of ‘la moda', continue to make their mark in theatre and cinema.
Spinatelli has long been long associated with this historic theatre, but also has a phenomenally successful international career. She has designed major productions for L'Opéra de Paris, the Royal Ballet in London, the Tokyo Ballet and many others. Her name has long been associated with that of Roland Petit, Patrice Bart and Carla Fracci -collaborations that have lasted for decades.
Spinatelli's work for opera has been extensive designing for all the Italian opera houses from the Arena in Verona to Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Most recently her Anna Bolena with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca for Vienna was seen live in cinemas and on television throughout the world.
Her collaboration with the legendary theatre director Giorgio Strehler at Milan's Piccolo Teatro was long and intensive.
Spinatelli's work can be seen in many DVDs, such as the ballet collaborations with Barenboim on Swan Lake and Nutcracker, a handful of Roland Petit ballets, Paquita with the Paris Ballet, Andrea Chénier with Eva Marton and José Carreras, Adriana Lecouvreur with Mirella Freni, and many more.
Spinatelli is one of the unsung heroes of Italian design: where Dolce & Gabbana create international waves, these theatre designers create ripples in the international media, but are a major force in ballet and opera throughout the world.
Below: Luisa Spinatelli's design for Anna Netrebko's final costume in Vienna's recent production of Anna Bolena.
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.