The exhibition "PrimeDonne. Puccini's Women and Verdi's Heroines" enables us to relive moving chapters of Italian opera between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the costumes worn by some of the characters who truly enthralled and wowed audiences: Mimì, Musetta, Manon, Tosca, Elisabetta, Amelia, Violetta and Desdemona.

The exhibition is the result of the projects designed by the Bracco Foundation, under the guidance of Maria Chiara Donato, involving the students of the tailoring course for theatrical performances of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. After the exhibitions in 2012 and 2013 hosted by the CDI - Italian Diagnostic Centre, the costumes by Puccini and Verdi were reunited in a single exhibition that first was held at Villa Bertelli in Forte dei Marmi, from 27th June to 31st August, and then Palazzo Martinengo Colleoni in Brescia from 2nd to 28th December 2015.

For Puccini's Women the students of the Accademia started from the sketches by Adolf Hohenstein, now preserved in the Ricordi Archives and reproduced in the exhibition, created for the premiere of Manon Lescaut (Teatro Regio of Turin, 1893), La bohème (Teatro Regio of Turin, 1896) and Tosca (Teatro Costanzi of Rome, 1900). 

For Verdi's Heroines, however, they were faithfully reproduced following the original sketches of the protagonists' costumes of four masterpieces of the Emilian composer, which appeared on stage at the Teatro alla Scala: La Traviata (1859), Don Carlo (1884), Otello (premiere, 1887) and Un ballo in maschera (1903). The costumes of Violetta, Elisabetta, Desdemona and Amelia were designed by some of the most famous names of Italian illustration and set design between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Alfredo Edel, architect of Desdemona and Elisabetta's costumes, Giuseppe Palanti, today ranked among the most important illustrators of the early twentieth century (here remembered as the creator of the costumes for Amelia), and the anonymous dress designer who designed the costumes for La Traviata 1859, identified today as Filippo Peroni, the set designer of the same production.

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