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Shadows at Opera

Anima International Festival 2020 Cagliari

30th and 31st October 2020

CONTROLUCE Teatro d'Ombre Workshop

Shadows at Opera
collective imagination of a shadows scene for an aria of Verdi's Don Carlo

slshow4 Shadow Theatre can deal with dense and difficult themes. The eastern shadow theatre taught CONTROLUCE to tell great stories, the founding myths of Man. Every performance is born in a choral way, it is a team work. Music is our starting point, as training, as passion. When finally an opera's complete staging commission arrived to us, it was a real achievement...

The structure of this workshop includes 2 teachers and no more than 16 participants, 2 meetings of 4 hours in consecutive days. Especially dedicated to musicians, dancers and Puppet Theatre people.

Controluce has worked a lot over the years in the world of Opera, collaborating with directors such as Davide Livermore, Roberto Recchia, Valeria Campo. At theatres as the Comunale of Bologna, the Politeama of Palermo, the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Madrid, the Teatro Municipal de Burgos, at the Festival Via Stellae of Santiago de Compostela, the Festival of Martina Franca, Lugo Opera Festival; with musicians such as Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi, Kenneth Weiss, Gabriel Garrido, Leonardo Garcia Alarcon.
When we were commissioned to take over everything in an opera, from staging to directing, we felt satisfied: the relationship between singers, stage action and shadows reaches a brilliant point, a sort of "Schatten-Wort-Ton-Drama“ (Shadow-Word-Sound-Drama), to reinvent a Wagnerian term.

(hypothesis of two days, 4 hours/day)

First day

1 - Introduction:

- Use of shadow Theatre techniques for staging classical and contemporary operas, scenic cantatas and other musical performances.
- Use of the Shadow Theatre in experimental musical education (Conservatory of Lugano)

Fragment of video materials  about Controluce's works on Opera:
Il Pirata” and “La Straniera” by Bellini
Donna di Veleni” by Podda
Il giardino della vita” by Sánchez Verdú
Il sogno del Signor Rodari” by Núñez Hierro
Lo Stridere Luttuoso Degli Acciai” by Guarnieri
Experimentation at Conservatorio di Lugano (ORF-AGE, POP-KREISS, DID-ONE)

2 - Proposal:

Collective creation of a small scene of shadows on the aria “Ella giammai m'amò” from the Opera Don Carlo by Verdi.

Basic notions of methodology, dramaturgy, storyboard construction.

Division of participants into groups to organize activities. Design and assembly of silhouettes, in case, useful to the scene. Exercises of manipulation and use of light.

Second day

Verification and assembly of the prepared material. Rehearsal. Coordination of groups for the final representation of the constructed scene.


two large rooms, one for construction -bright and with work tables- and the other totally dark (when lights off even during daytime) for rehearsal.

Video projector with computer connection.

Sheets of black cardboard, white pencils, cutters, wooden sticks for assembling silhouettes, glue and scissors. White paper roll.

Lamps for the shadow theatre, projection screens, coloured filters and other supporting material.

ATTENTION:  The workshop was suspended due to anti-pandemic measures. The Festival, renamed "Rianima IF" sent in streaming those days the following related videos: LINK1LINK2

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