The costumes of the Turandot premiere, a masterpiece to be restored.

It was thought they were lost forever, but they were found. Now they belong to everyone, together we can give them new life!

16 Dec 2019

It was April 25, 1926 when the last unfinished masterpiece by Giacomo Puccini: Turandot was staged for the first time at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

The costumes were rich and sumptuous clothes. Beautiful!

Over time, Turandot's costumes have lost all traces. But the Prato Textile Museum has managed to find them again.

The state of preservation is very bad, these precious finds are severely damaged and need major restoration to be returned to the public.

The Tuscany Region has allocated a contribution to cover part of the restoration costs.

To complete the work, to bring to light a precious piece of history of costume, opera and Italian theater, everyone's contribution is needed.

An operation of immense cultural value, very important for the Textile Museum of Prato and for all of us. Let's find out with the project owners...

Can you tell us briefly the history of the Textile Museum, its value and the link with the city of Prato?

The Textile Museum of Prato was established in 1975 within the Tullio Buzzi Textile Industrial Technical Institute and in 2003 the Museum moved its headquarters to the restored premises of the former Cimatoria Campolmi, a symbolic factory in Prato's textile history and an important example of industrial archeology.

The fabric is part of the history, traditions and identity of the city of Prato and the Textile Museum preserves the historical memory of the city and at the same time its future potential. In fact, the Museum has the task of preserving a collection of international importance and promoting the knowledge of the fabric by inspiring students, professionals and future generations of creatives in the textile sector.

Which are the most relevant and particular works that the Textile Museum contains?

The Museum documents the history of the fabric through heterogeneous collections: ancient and contemporary fabrics, machinery, sketches, fashion figures and clothes that travel the history of costume from the 16th century to the present day.

Worthy of note for its exceptional state of preservation is the Renaissance collection, among which the shirts and a scarsella stand out, a rare example of a men's money bag.

Would you like to tell us some anecdotes in particular about finding the costume?

Perhaps not many people know that the discovery of the costume was an unexpected event also for the Museum. In fact, when the trunk arrived at the Museum, we only knew that it contained beautiful costumes from the early 1900s, which belonged to the Prato soprano Iva Pacetti but were never related to the costumes of the Turandot premiere at the Teatro alla Scala.

What did you think and how did you feel when you received it?

The real excitement came when the curator Daniela Degl'Innocenti closely examined the costumes of Iva Pacetti: <<the sight of the phoenix on my sleeve reminded me of numerous works that belonged to the deco period, especially the pictorial decorations and on ceramics by Galileo Chini. Moreover the phoenix is the Chinese symbol of the Empress, from this to go back to the work was almost immediate ... it was the costume of Turandot! The photos of the very first of the opera confirmed my intuitions and allowed me to identify the costume and the crown. I felt filled with happiness ... perhaps like Howard Carter when he saw the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb>>

Why is this costume so important and what does for Puccini fans and his works represent?

Turandot is the last masterpiece that Maestro Giacomo Puccini has left to all fans of opera and these costumes represent a part of the history of Italian opera.
Not only.
Even today, Turandot is among the most represented works in the world and continues to be the subject of studies and research on the choice of the architects who decreed its success at the beginning. Without a doubt, the analysis of the customs found will bring important new discoveries.

Why did you choose crowdfunding for costume restoration?

When an asset enters the Museum's heritage, it automatically becomes everyone's heritage. However, the Museum is not a mere container of objects, but constantly interacts with the citizens to protect and enhance the collections to the fullest. Crowdfunding makes up for the need for funds, and is at the same time a way for everyone to participate in the project to recover these splendid costumes.

What are the advantages and exclusives that supporters of this project will now have?

In addition to the many rewards already present on the Eppela website since the beginning of the campaign, such as the Textile Museum scarf or the autographed catalog by the authors, thanks to the collaboration with the Puccini Festival Foundation and the Simonetta Puccini Foundation, we can now offer supporters of crowdfunding also tickets for the Puccini Festival 2020 opera season with an exclusive backstage visit and entry to the Villa Mausoleo in Torre del Lago Puccini.

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