Portrait of Attilio Colonnello

Attilio Colonnello

Italian stage director, set designer, and designer


Attilio Colonnello (born in Milan on November 9, 1930) is an Italian set designer, stage director, and designer.  He studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, Gio Ponti, Ernesto Nathan Rogers, and Giulio Minolleti were his professors. He first drew critical praise for his set designs in 1956, for La traviata at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. This was followed by designs for Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele at La Scala in 1958. He designed several more Milan productions, including Don Pasquale in 1965 and two productions for Margherita Wallmann: the première of Ildebrando Pizzetti’s Clitennestra in 1965 and another Don Pasquale in 1973. read more

In 1962, Colonnello made his debut  in the United States at the Dallas Civic Opera with a critically acclaimed production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, and the following years, also for the Dallas Civic Opera, he designed Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. In 1964, he designed for first time for the Metropolitan Opera Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. He later designed two productions for Nathaniel Merrill at the Met: a 19th-century Luisa Miller (1968), and a gloomy Il trovatore (1969).A

Starting in 1964, Colonnello worked frequently as a set designer and director for the Teatro di San Carlo. His first production with the company was Roberto Devereux, again with Wallmann as director. He then designed and directed productions of Adriana Lecouvreur (1966), the première of Jacopo Napoli’s Barone avaro, and Samson et Dalila (both 1970), Carmen (1975), La Gioconda (1977) and I puritani and Luisa Miller (both 1988).

In 1964 he designed and directed productions of Cavalleria rusticana and La bohème and designed a production of Mefistofele for director Herbert Graf. He then designed Carmen (1965), Rigoletto (1966), La forza del destino (1967) and Andrea Chénier ( 1967). For the festival’s 100th anniversary he staged Aida (1968) and later returned for a lauded production of Un ballo in maschera (1972). In 1984 he returned to design and direct I Lombardi.

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