How to stage Italian Opera

Preparatory workshop for directing operas and musicals



How to stage Italian Opera

Preparatory workshop for directing operas and musicals

How to stage Italian Opera

Creating a musical theatre project

Quick overview
Italy is considered the homeland of opera and a country of artists capable of keeping the dialogue with history alive, between tradition and innovation. The learning path that will lead each student to create a personal musical theatre project will be based precisely on these two aspects.
Tradition: the repertoire of Italian opera in the interpretation of the great directors of the second half of the twentieth century.
Innovation: a contemporary view of the classics, not in the sense of current events or news, but of themes, situations, characters that can still resonate as important and significant.
The proposed specialisation will allow developing a directorial interpretation, a poetic and personal point of view on the music and libretto of an opera.

a cura di Fabio Cherstich

date: 18 - 29 gennaio 2021


(Admission is free)

Payment must be made by credit card upon enrolment. Online registration procedure.

REGISTRATION FOR ADMISSION Deadline: 9 December 2020

Deadline: 9 December 2020

To register for admission:
Send email to Stefania Cito s.cito@fondazionemilano.eu with your personal details and contact details, attaching your CV, complete with passport size photo in PDF + motivational letter in PDF. Specify whether you prefer the morning or evening course.
Notification of admitted students: from 11 December 2020 (via email)

Evaluation of submitted documents

Admission will be evaluated using the documents submitted:
evaluation of the CV + evaluation of the motivational letter + verification of the arrival order of all registration documents for complete admission.

ENROLMENT AND PAYMENT Notification of admitted students: from 11 December 2020 (via e-mail) / Enrolment deadline for admitted students: 16 December 2020 (online procedure only)

Enrolment: enrolment should be completed online and followed by course payment, according to the instructions you receive via e-mail in the notification of successful admission.
If admitted students forfeit their admission or do not enrol within the specified deadline, students on the waiting list will immediately replace them.

A certificate of attendance will be issued.
Absences: in order to receive the certificate, students must not miss over 25% of required attendance hours. Make-up lessons are not possible.

Upon request, the recorded lessons can be viewed for up to one month after the end of the course.

Frequenza: Obbligatoria ATTENDANCE
Mandatory - Online

Attendance is online, live and in interactive mode, via Zoom platform.


You will need:

• Access to a *computer or tablet
• Access to a free ‘Zoom’ account
• A relatively strong and stable internet connection
• A safe space to participate freely, and with limited disruptions/distractions
(*Certain features on the Zoom app work better on computers than on tablets/phones)


The workshop will guide students towards the creation of a musical directing project.
The course will explore the peculiar and specific aspects of an opera as an artistic object, and their relationship with the context in which they are portrayed, be it a traditional stage, an open space or an experimental environment.
In fact, a director preparing for an opera performance cannot fail to consider the musical material on which it is based, just as he cannot neglect the complex and articulated production process that is necessary for its enactment.
From the first steps related to listening to the music and formalising the general concept to the collection of images of scenes and costumes, storyboards and character study, at the end of the course the students will have a complete directing project, developed from their personal vision of the work.
The case study of the course, which includes a practical test, will be Tosca by Giacomo Puccini, with libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica.

Course programme

Preparatory study (3 lessons)

In the first group of lessons, students will become familiar with the work by examining the libretto and the score. In addition, Tosca’s emblematic productions will be analysed through archival audio and video materials, ranging from traditional directorial readings to versions stemming from a more contemporary scene.

Preparation for opera direction and directing plan (4 lessons)

In the course’s second group of lessons, the multiple expressive and productive forms of musical theatre will be analysed in order to contextualise the specifics of opera in the contemporary theatrical system. At the same time, students will participate in the directing study of Tosca by Puccini to acquire useful tools for their own project. At the end of this group of lessons, the task (project) to be prepared independently for the next module will be assigned.

Analysis and development of directing projects on Tosca (2 lessons)

Lessons focused on the analysis and individual and group development of the students’ directing projects on Tosca by Puccini.

Conclusions (1 lesson)

Final presentation of each student’s project to the group and course conclusion.

Teatro International Courses 03