Margherita Palli


Sketch for Lodo´ska, staging of the Teatro alla Scala, 1991.Margherita Palli (1951) began working with director Luca Ronconi at a very young age.Before, she had attended the scenography courses of Tito Varisco (at the time technical director of the Scala) at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and, above all, those of Sculpture in the atelier of Alik Cavaliere, to which she was assistant for a few years ...
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... in the not hidden conviction of wanting to become a sculptor.An apprenticeship in the field that Palli will never forget and that will allow her to refine a rigorous method to later pass on to her students at the Academy: practice comes before art.After learning the technique, teamwork follows for Palli; the installations with the architect Pierluigi Nicolin at the Milan Triennial 1979 teach her the practice ...
... of sharing and group creation, a fundamental experience to be transmitted to young designers.One of the monographs of the Amici della Scala reserved for the great artists of the scene and costumes for the Scala productions will be dedicated to Palli (together with very few other scenographers); the biographical portrait of the volume by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, trces the profile of the
... who comes to the theater from the practice of drawing, sculpture, the study of materials and architecture.Palli will soon integrate this manual drawing process with computer work, which speeds up and allows to show the director the scenic solutions in an immediate 3D preview.In this photo and in the three previous ones: Lodo´ska, staging of the Teatro alla Scala, 1991.
Axonometry for Il caso Makropulos, set up by the Teatro Regio di Torino, 1993.From the early 90s Margherita Palli began to familiarize herself with computerized graphics softwares for the stereometric design of volumes and architectural spaces used by her husband Italo Rota, and since then her elaborations have followed this technological path for the geometric definition of the project.Since the late 1990s, design becomes digital, albeit not exclusively ...
... as shown by the computerized graphics preserved in the Archivio del Piccolo Teatro di Milano, including:Sogno, 1999;Lolita, 2000;I due gemelli veneziani, 2000 (in the sketch);Il Prof Bernhardi, 2004;Il Ventaglio, 2006;from here the basic script, the storyboard is built.
Returning to the biography, her arrival at theater after her studies at the Academy takes place with the architect Gae Aulenti, in whose studio she worked at the time of the design of the MusÚe d'Orsay: Palli joins Aulenti in the staging of Donna del lago at the Rossini Opera Festival 1981 and of Donnerstag aus Licht (Thursday of light) by Karlheinz Stockhausen, directed by Ronconi.In the photo: Oberon, staging of the Teatro alla Scala, 1988.
Margherita Palli and Luca Ronconi during the rehearsal of Lodo´ska, 1991.With Ronconi, known thanks to Gae Aulenti, she began a thirty-year collaboration since 1984, when the director called her to work at the Fedra; she will sign with him over seventy theatrical and opera performances.Despite collaborating with other directors, such as Mauro Avogadro, Alexandr Sokurov, Carmelo Rifici, Mario Martone, Palli's artistic bond with Ronconi has become the emblem of the ideal union between director and stage designer.
Six times Ubu Prize and three times Franco Abbiati Prize, the Swiss stage designer Margherita Palli, (Mendrisio, 1951) was a key collaborator of Luca Ronconi and she designed the sets of countless Italian and international theatrical productions, in which she worked alongside directors such as Mauro Avogadro, Andrea Barzini, Franco Branciaroli, Liliana Cavani, Cesare Lievi, Mario Martone, Leo Muscato, Davide Rampello, Alexander Sokurov.
To be mentioned, for its practical usefulness, her recent publication:
Dizionario teatrale, Quodlibet NABA Insights, 2021
which translates the specialized terminology of scenography and stagecraft into seven languages.

Anna Maria Monteverdi is the author of this monograph, and she is Associate Professor of History of Theater and Professor of History of Scenography at the UniversitÓ degli Studi di Milano.
Among her most recent texts:
Scenografe - Storia della scenografia femminile dal Novecento a oggi, Dino Audino, 2021
Leggere uno spettacolo multimediale, Dino Audino, 2020
Memoria maschera e macchina nel teatro di Robert Lepage, Meltemi, 2018
Le Arti multimediali digitali, (con A. Balzola), Garzanti, 2005

Materials used in this production

Booth of a renowned furniture factory

Commercial premises

Teatro alla Scala, ''La damnation de Faust''

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Teatro alla Scala, ''Tosca''

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Teatro Comunale, ''Capriccio''

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Teatro Lirico, ''Capriccio''

Lyric opera

Teatro Sociale, ''Macbeth''

Lyric opera

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