Young, beautiful, passionate, victims, lovers or spouses: these are Violetta, Desdemona, Elisabetta and Amelia the protagonists of the exhibition "Prime donne. Verdi's heroines", sponsored by the Bracco Foundation in collaboration with the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, inaugurated on Monday 16th December 2013 at the Italian Diagnostic Centre of Milan (via Saint Bon, 20).

The exhibition celebrates the bicentenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi through the exhibition of historical costumes of four female protagonists of four of Verdi's operas, reconstructed for the occasion by the students of the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala, starting from the sketches made by some of the most famous Italian names of illustration and set design between the 19th and 20th century.

The sketches are taken from some important historical productions of the Teatro alla Scala: that of Violetta for the Traviata's debut at La Scala in 1859, Desdemona for the premiere of Otello in 1887, that of Elisabetta for the 1884 edition of Don Carlo and of Amelia in Un ballo in maschera in 1903.The period 1859 to 1903 represents forty-four years of theatrical, scenic and costume history that "come alive" for the visitors of the exhibition.

After the great success of the exhibition held in 2012 dedicated to the Puccin's Women, in Verdi's year par excellence we meet four of the most famous protagonists of the great composer's works, in costumes that have perpetuated them in the collective memory. During the exhibition, backstage photos guiding visitors through the world of Verdi are also exhibited.

These "behind the scenes" shots allow us to see and know the underlying structure to the costumes, which created unique and characteristic shapes and which have helped make Verdi's heroines immortal in history.

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