Opera within the Opera, when the students think of the posters

In Reggio Emilia the Valli Municipal Theater of Reggio Emilia is a stone’s throw away from the Gaetano Chierici artistic high school, but until now the two places seemed separated by a sidereal distance. The first, born as an opera theatre, but over the years capable of hosting all genres of opera on its ancient stage live show, the second high school with various addresses (design, architectural, figurative,

audiovisual). Despite some initiatives carried out by valiant teachers, for many of those students, the columns of the portico under the Municipal Valli, the main city theatre, were considered like the columns of Hercules: they could not go further, because there was no it was reason. Then a project meant that four high school classes, with their teachers, began to collaborate with the Theater to design the coordinated graphic image of the entire 2023-2024 Opera Season. Which from today will be visible in the city and its squares, signed by the boys and girls. “Opera within the Opera”, this is the title of the experiment large banners outside the Theater, which communicate the four operas on the bill: Don Carlo and Otello by

Giuseppe Verdi, Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti and the diptych composed of Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell and Die sieben Todsünden by Brecht/Weill, posters, covers of the related booklets, the inevitable digital communication, an exhibition in the theater and a dedicated video narration . The boys, with their gaze fresh, they managed to get grandma Opera out of the dusty trunk in which she often and undeservedly finds herself

confined. And so Don Carlo becomes a cage, a physical prison in which the protagonist is closed but also a virtual one, which unites all the characters, hostages of situations bigger than themselves; Anne Boleyn is, a blade and a woman’s face; Othello loses the identifying and stereotyped traits of “Moro” and – robbed of his own reality – becomes a Pac-man (the protagonist of one of the first video games), who starts chasing the evil clues left by Iago; the Diptych is a manipulated face, representing the existences of the two women protagonists of the two distinct works, both victims of a power external to them. But creativity worked in an overwhelming way, putting masks, razor blades, monstrous faces, stylized figures and even road signs in black and white. For months, these kids tried to discover the profound meaning of individual works. First it took the stories, brought forward by the musicologists of the I Teatri Foundation, which manages the Teatro Municipale Valli, starting from the complicated plots and plots, and then arriving at the “guiding” words necessary for the creation of the images, created with the support of theater graphic designers and communicators. The young artists were given the only limit of using a specific common technique, which was reminiscent (but less expensive) of linocut, based on the “removal” processing of a surface (in this case linoleum), which is subsequently inked and used as a large stamp to print the design. Given the traditional lack of school and theater funds, a virtue was made of necessity: with a lot of ingenuity of graphic designers and teachers, we thought of using a quick-drying masking liquid that would not damage the paper: the kids covered their parts of the sheet that were not to be touched by the dye, they then spread the color. Once the drawing was dry, the masking liquid, solidified into a sort of rubber, was removed, thus showing the illustration in its entirety. The search for synthesis was one of the themes that also embraced and guided the moments of exchange on projects between the two worlds (theater and art high school). Then, all the works were printed and placed side by side in the large spaces of the Valli Theatre,

scrutinized and debated. We arrived at a selection of the four drawings, chosen not only for their meaning and communicative power, but also for their visual coherence between them, for their impact and originality. All subjects (one hundred) they are part of an exhibition inside the Theatre.


Paolo Cantu, director of the I Teatri Foundation: “The Foundation has always pursued a policy of bringing young people closer to the world of theatre, both through particularly advantageous discounts for those under 30, and through projects dedicated to them, which introduce them to the world of theatre. A place that, today more than yesterday, risks remaining on the margins of their experience, mainly made up of high-impact screens and TV series, capable of capturing their interest. So, the challenge is to ask ourselves why a young person should come to the theatre? We try to give them good reasons, involving them not only in seeing, but by opening that great treasure chest of secrets that is the theatre, above all telling us about its extraordinary uniqueness. And the Opera nell’Opera project, as well as the Festival Ambassadors or the one that links psychology and opera, which flank the now historic Opera Tomorrow, the Children’s Choir and the Summer Campuses – are experiments that insist in this direction. We sow, hoping that good fruit will grow.” Daniele Corzani, head teacher: “The students of the “G. Chierici “lived this experience of collaboration with the I Teatri Reggio Emilia Foundation with conviction and enthusiasm. A shared artistic sensitivity which, with a wide articulation of languages, has allowed young students and the school community to approach the world of theater and

of the Opera. I am sure that there will be the possibility of creating other interesting experiences in future projects.”


Opera nell’Opera project group

Gaetano Chierici Art School

students of classes 4 B and 4 F, Figurative Arts

students of classes 4 D and 5 D, Ceramic Design

Teachers: Giacomo Bartolucci, Stefano Bertini, Luca Crotti, Savina Lombardo, Federica Pasini, Daniela Santachiara

Fondazione I Teatri Reggio Emilia: Silvia Castagnoli (Studio Muttley), Lorenzo Parmiggiani, Francesca Severini (Communications Area)

Students involved

CLASS 4B (figurative address)

Becci Emidia, Bonoretti Alicya, Esposito Leonora, Fornaciari Arianna, Italiano Greta, Lamonica Jacopo, Ligabue Francesca, Marchesi Valentina, Mariano Francesca, Mulè Carlotta, Pastorino Marì, Rabitti Aurora, Rondinelli Emily, Scarnà Amadeus Torreggiani Federico, Zedda Francesca

CLASS 4D (Ceramic Design Address)

Fruggeri Sara, Piardi Carlotta, Rossi Davide

CLASS 4F (figurative address)

Ajazi Laura, Azzolino Carol, Campani Laura, Cattani Leonard, Cento Valentina, Gaudino Lucia, Giorgini Cecilia, Huang Ru Lin, Ianni Greta, Internò Gaia, Lanza Alessio, Magnani Alessia, Muratori Alice, Omero Caterina, Pignedoli Alexandra, Santangelo Martina, Serra Nicolò, Valli Aurora, Zara Francesco, Zizzi Lucia

CLASS 5D (Ceramic Design Address)

Avanzi Rebecca, Barbieri Alessia Carmen, Beneventi Samuele, Bozzi Fabio, Di Cataldo Rebecca, Tudan Anhelina


The Opera dei Teatri season was inaugurated last November Don Carloone of Giuseppe Verdi’s most complex operas, with the new year (19 and 21 January) on stage Othello, the composer’s late work, based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. The new production is directed by Italo Nunziata. In the pit, the Emilia-Romagna Arturo Toscanini Orchestra conducted by Leonardo Sini, with the choirs being the Choir of the Municipal Theater of Piacenza and the Children’s Choir Nicolini of Piacenza.

Another historical themed title returns on 9 and 11 February, which sees a woman as the absolute protagonist: Anne Boleyn, masterpiece by Gaetano Donizetti. The direction is by Carmelo Rifici, director and artistic director of LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, which produces the work together with Fondazione I Teatri and the other theaters in the Region. Diego Fasolis, recognized worldwide as one of the reference interpreters for historically informed music, will direct the ensemble I Barocchisti, of which he is the leader. On stage the Claudio Merulo Choir of Reggio Emilia. The season ends on 5 and 7 April with the diptych composed of Dido and Aeneas And The seven sins capital. Two very different works in terms of events and eras: Dido and Aenea, opera by end of the seventeenth century by Henry Purcell, an absolute masterpiece of British melodrama; Die sieben

todsünden, opera-ballet by the successful artistic duo Kurt Weill (composer) and Berthold Brecht (librettist). The Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna will be conducted by Marco Angius, the direction is signed by Daniele Abbado.