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Svoboda at La Scala

by Vittoria Crespi Morbio.
Essay by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, Alchimia d’ombra / Alchemy of Shadow.
Appendices: biographical notice; catalogue of the works; chronology of stage designs.
Collection «Performing Artists at La Scala».
Amici della Scala – Umberto Allemandi & C., Turin 2003.
Italian edition, pp.58.

Trained as an architect, influenced by Russian Constructivism and the stage design theories of Adolphe Appia, Josef Svoboda (Caslav 1920–Prague 2002) contributed to the 20th-century scenography avant garde with his activity at the National Theatre in Prague and as of 1973 in the «Laterna Magika» laboratory-theatre he himself had founded. His productions inspired by metaphors–often brilliant and at times provocative–spawned endless discussions. With Cardillac (1964) by Hindemith and then the long series of performances followed by Atomtod by Manzoni (1965), Svoboda’s curtains of light, mirrors, multiple screens animated the stage of La Scala creating a unique cultural atmosphere.