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Usellini at La Scala

by Vittoria Crespi Morbio.
Essay by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, Spiritelli dell’alba / Dawn Elves.
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.64.

Gianfilippo Usellini (Milan 1903–Arona 1971) believed more in an imaginary world of elves, young nuns, devils flitting and kicking about than in the “real” world. Trained in the cultural atmosphere of “Novecento” and enamoured of Renaissance art, Usellini steeped his fantastic creatures in a microcosm of ambiguities and surprises, humour and anxiety. We meet up with their profiles in the productions he signed for the Teatro alla Scala, ranging from Nazzareno by Perosi (1950), and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Monteverdi-Ghedini (1951), to Figlia del diavolo by Mortari (1954) and Notte di un nevrastenico by Nino Rota (1960). This is the first time Usellini’s activity as an opera scenographer is analysed and documented.