Sketching for the Scene

The sketch for sets and costumes are characteristic elements of the theatrical activity.

By Teatro Alla Scala

Sketch by C.Ferrario-"Wild gorge in the mountains"-for Medge by S.Samara (1888/1888) by Carlo Ferrario (1833-1907)Teatro Alla Scala

They can consist of simple black and white sketches, or of drawings and color paintings executed with care, perfection and variety of techniques (tempera, watercolors, pencil drawings ink drawings or prints).

"Large square with a magnificent triumphal arch" by F.Galliari (prior to 1770) by Fabrizio Galliari (1709-1790)Teatro Alla Scala

About sketches...
The sketch is the basic element from which theatrical work begins. It documents the creative idea of the set designer and allows to understand the concept on which the visual interpretation of the work is based. 

With the sketches for sets and costumes, the set designer and costume designer indicate to the scenographers, carpenters, painters and tailors the shape that the sets and the costumes that the actors and extras will have to wear.

Sketch by Alessandro Sanquirico (First half of XIX century) by Alessandro SanquiricoTeatro Alla Scala

This is a sketch designed by Alessandro Sanquirico who was a major figure at La Scala in the nineteenth century. The list of works he designed is impressive, from operas to ballets, and includes several premieres for an estimated total of 300 to 500 productions. The same goes for his engravings, his extravagant “guazze”, his sketches for frescoes and albums. He profited from the commercial value of his work, and created large albums which he gave to prominent people and personalities.

These included mezzo-soprano Giuditta Pasta, Emperor Carlo Alberto of Savoy and Isabella di Borbone. This had the double result of promoting himself and leaving a large documentary legacy to posterity.

Sketch by C.Ferrario-" Inside Norma's home "- for Norma by V.Bellini by Carlo Ferrario (1833-1907)Teatro Alla Scala

This sketch was made by Carlo Ferrario for a 1898 Norma performance at Teatro alla Scala that didn't go on stage.

Sketch for Il mandarino meraviglioso by B.Bartok (1942/1942) by Enrico Prampolini (1894-1956)Teatro Alla Scala

Sketch for Il mandarino meraviglioso by B.Bartok, made by Enrico Prampolini.

Sketch by E.Marchioro-"The royal gardens" for Il Re by G.Forzano & U.Giordano (1929/1929) by Edoardo Marchioro (1882-1935)Teatro Alla Scala

Sketch by Edoardo Marchioro -"The mill room in the miller's house" for Il Re by Giovacchino Forzano & Umberto Giordano (1929)

Sketch for Nerone by A.Boito (1924/1924) by Ludovico Pogliaghi (1857-1950)Teatro Alla Scala

Sketch for Arrigo Boito’s Nerone by Lodovico Pogliaghi (1924)

Sketch by V.Rota-" The castle of Castellor"- for Il Trovatore by G.Verdi (1902/1902) by Vittorio Rota (1864-?)Teatro Alla Scala

"The castle of Castellor" Sketch by Vittoro Rota for Verdi’s Il trovatore (1902)

Sketch for Turandot by G.Puccini-act I° (1926/1926) by Galileo Chini (1873-1956)Teatro Alla Scala

Sketch for the First Act of Turandot by Giacomo Puccini. It was made by Galielo Chini for the first performance in 1926 at Teatro alla Scala

Sketch by A.Rovescalli-"Cala marina"- for Le Rossignol by I.Strawinskij (1926/1926) by (Odoardo) Antonio Rovescalli (1864-1936)Teatro Alla Scala

"Sea Cove” Sketch by Antonio Rovescalli for Igor Strawinskij’s Le Rossignol Igor Strawinskij (1926)

Sketch for the ballet Feu d'artifice (1917/1917) by Giacomo Balla (18 July 1871 – 1 March 1958)Teatro Alla Scala

In 1917, at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, the current Opera House, Giacomo Balla staged Feu d'artifice for Djagilev's Ballets Russes, with music by Igor Stravinsky. It was a curious experiment of "ballet without dancers", in which lighting was actually dancing, articulated in a complex of switching on and off of as many as 49 polychrome lights. The scene designed by Balla was instead made up of geometric solids covered with canvas.

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