Staging The Orient: Visions Of The East At La Scala And The Metropolitan Opera

Staging The Orient: Visions of the East at La Scala and The Metropolitan Opera. Essays by Vittoria Crespi Morbio and Paul Thomason. New York, Dahesh Museum of Art, 2004, 39pp.

Since its opening in 1778, the world-famous opera house in Milan, the Teatro alla Scala, has played a crucial role in the history of costume and set design. Originally organized by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and drawn primarily from La Scala’s own collections, this exhibition was supplemented by loans from The Metropolitan Opera Archives and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University that widen its scope to include America’s premier opera house. Through costumes, architectural models, drawings, prints, and photographs the exhibition examines the exotic Orient of the opera stage from the late 18th through the late 20th centuries.

This catalogue contains a preface by Peter Trippi, former Director of the Dahesh Museum of Art; an introduction by Stephen R. Edidin, former Chief Curator; an essay on the history of set and costume design at La Scala from its founding to the premiere of Turandot in 1926 by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, curator of the Museo del Teatro alla Scala; and two essays on the history of Turandot at The Metropolitan Opera from its New York premiere in 1926 to the Zeffirelli production of 1987, by the noted independent opera historian and commentator, Paul Thomason.