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Ardengo Soffici at La Scala

by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, Tuscan California
Appendices: biography, Ardengo Soffici and Opera
Amici della Scala – Grafiche Step Editrice, Parma 2021
Italian – English edition, pp. 158

Dividing his efforts between painting and writing, and not without prejudice toward musical art, Ardengo Soffici (1879-1964) was not easily persuaded to accept the invitation from his friend Curzio Malaparte to join him in working on a Florentine production of La fanciulla del West (1954).

Having overcome his reluctance, as scenographer Soffici recreated his painting style connected to the land, as though the blood of the three ‘cursed Tuscans’ –Malaparte, Puccini and himself – flowed through the veins of a legendary California.

Soffici made his La Scala debut in 1959 with another Puccini production, Suor Angelica. Casting aside the illusion of verisimilitude, his soft, bold brushstroke is what filled the stage.