|Guido Marussig's set design for the 3rd Episode of Nave|
for the premiere at La Scala in 1918
Italo Montemezzi's opera Nave premiered in 1918 at La Scala, Milan. It was meant to cement his reputation following the success of L'Amore di Tre Re in 1913. His publishers, Ricordi, had high hopes that he would be a talent to replace Puccini and it was Tito Ricordi who adapted Gabriele D'Annunzio's play La Nave for Montemezzi. No expense was spared, the sets by Guido Marussig were highly realistic and included a complete ship, built as an independent structure, which was the focal point of the final scene as it was launched, with the heroine Basiliola strapped to the bow as the figure head! (see photo of the original sets at the bottom of this article). The plot was gruesome and the adaptation cut out a lot of D'Annunzio's poetry. Rather than being a success, critics complained and Montemezzi never wrote another full scale opera.
Interest in the opera has risen partly because Teatro Graciela in New York gave a concert performance of the opera last year (you can read reviews of this on their website).
In case you are thinking that the set was realised by simply building a large painted flat, here is a rather grainy photograph of La Scala actually building the ship.
|Building the ship for the set for Nave at La Scala, 1918|
For the Chicago performances Norman Bel Geddes sets were equally elaborate. It was performed twice in Chicago and, because of the controversy, the planned New York performances did not happen so that Bel Geddes's sets were only used for two performances!
|Norman Bel Geddes set design for the 3rd Episode of Nave|
for the premiere at Chicago Lyric Opera in 1919
Elsewhere on this blog:
- La Traviata - Peter Konwitschny - ENO
- Well-Tempered Clavier volume 1
- Review: Londinium - Britten in America
- Review: Dream of Gerontius with Mark Elder
- Review: choir of Clare College, Cambridge
- Instructions for the Audience
- Review: Laika the Spacedog
- Release of Roxanna Panufnik's Love Abide
- Fretwork and Alamire at Kings Place