Pier Luigi Pizzi at the 69th Puccini Festival
An interview with the great director of Madama Butterfly
You’re a colossus of Italian theatre, first a set and costume designer, later a director; but how do you like to be described?
Simply as someone who’s devoted his life to the theatre.
When and where did your passion for theatre and opera start?
When I was seven I was taken to the Scala: I was captivated instantly, and that same evening I decided it was a place where I could dream, imagine and create, even transmit ideas, and it would be my home for the rest of my life.
And was it?
After my training as an architect, at 20 I began working as a set and costume designer for some of the world’s top theatres and festivals. In 1977 I debuted as an opera director, taking complete responsibility for my shows. My theatre work has always alternated with architecture projects for museums and art exhibitions, and frequent appearances on TV and film sets.
Your Madama Butterfly debuts at the outdoor theatre of Torre del Lago for four nights from 28 July to 4 August…
Yes, I’m returning to Torre del Lago following last year’s wonderful experience with Tosca. For this new staging, for which I’m doing the scenery, costumes and direction, I’m going back to tradition.
How does it feel to work for and with Puccini’s music?
This opera was my first and very happy encounter with Puccini when I first started out as a set designer, and I’ve loved coming back to such a masterpiece and rediscovering its wonderful features.
How did you approach Madama Butterfly this time?
With the method I’ve always used: I put the music at the centre of the project, which forces me to systematically discard any kind of ornament and be guided strictly by the dramatic plot line. I’m comforted and reassured by the fact that it’s happening at Torre del Lago, because I’ve already experienced the working environment there, and it’s excellent.\\