70 Years of Berliner Festspiele

Ballo Excelsior Or A Journey Through The Triumphs Of The Human Spirit

Compagnia marionettistica Carlo Colla e figli, Berliner Festwochen 1983
16.– 18.09.1983

Compagnia Colla, founded by Gaspare Carlo Gioacchino Colla, carries on one of the loveliest traditions of puppet theatre; singers and dances made out of wood move through the great operas, the minor musical comedies and the magnificent ballets with enchanting scenery.

A male read doll figure armed with a shotgun. The doll is standing in front of a painted background that shows a desert landscape with a bright orange sun. The doll’s hair is covered by a kufiya.

Compagnia marionettistica Carlo Colla e figli di Milano, “Ballo Excelsior or A Journey Through The Triumphs Of The Human Spirit”, Berliner Festwochen 1983. Film, colour, sound. Film still

© RBB / Assoziation Grupporiani

  • 66 min

In the last century the furnishings of any elegant Milan apartment would include a puppet theatre, often of considerable size. When Gaspare Carlo Gioacchino Colla, known as Giuseppe, the son of what had been a prosperous family, ran into financial difficulties, he turned his childhood hobby into a profession and toured the cities of Piedmont with his puppets.

The tiny puppet theatre transferred the successful production from the famous Teatro alla Scala to its own repertoire, while painstakingly imitating its sets and costumes. The plot was scaled down to the best-known arias and an additional comic character often added. These performances for everyone are clearly unable to compete with for those reserved for the nobility and the bourgeoisie in splendour and scale. However, many works of Meyerbeer, Bellini, Ponchielli and Donizetti only survived through this form. The “Ballo Excelsior”, the legendary spectacle glorifying science that caused a sensation at the World Exhibition of 1881, exists as a faithful copy of the vast production. It was la Scala’s most successful production ever, but, requiring over 600 people to perform, it was so massive in scale that now only the puppet theatre can provide an authentic impression of our great-grandfather’s faith in progress.

Ballett Luigi Manzotti
Music Romualdo Marnco
Artistic Director Eugenio Monti Colla

© RBB | Associazione Grupporiani