Vittorio Holtier

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Romanian Scene Designers: VITTORIO HOLTIER
By Luminita Batali

The creation, which described the Vittorio Holtier's professional road and, at the same time, opened an unprecedented chapter in the Romanian stage design, is without any doubt Craftsman Manuel in 1972 at the National Theatre in Cluj, in the company of director Alexa Visarion...
The entire scene, from the fosse of the orchestra to the proscenium and throughout its entire height was invaded by a wooden, natural and unpainted scaffold, which became an immense practicable, vertically and in an ascending way developing the play of the actors. The austere d├ęcor, which concentrated and reinforced the perception of the tragic actions, became in the end from an element predominated by emptiness a metaphor of walls and seclusion.
Among one of the most remarkable Romanian stage designs of the last years one must refer to King Lear, put on stage in 2000 at the famous Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest, in the company of the director Dragos Galgotiu. What Vittorio Holtier did accomplish for King Lear means such forceful costumes, such an energetic visualization of ideas that the images accompany you long time after the performance was finished. The first costumes that remain in our memory through their pregnancy are Goneril's and Regan's. They are contemporary and fashionable but they are theatre costumes, crafted and expressive, which bear a message for the present Romanian society. We don't know if we have ever met in our scene design school, until these creations, costumes able to express so well cruelty and mean-spiritedness: the strident red, the green, the glittering materials (also shrill) characterize also for today and socially too, the two ungrateful daughters…
The „Toma Caragiu“ Hall of the Bulandra Theater has a play area with three free sides, which permits the movement of vision from plantation to costumes (the hall is difficult from the stage design point of view and we saw there a play where a neglected treatment of the costumes brought the show on the threshold of the aesthetic dissolution) or, in Holtier's vision, King Lear is a feast of the costume. From those of the soldiers, whose high lances have the function of configuring dynamic and various spaces, to the option for a masculine suit for Cordelia, signifying courage and manhood, to those of the King of France which, through the preciousness of the silk and its color is symbolically related to the refined representation of the lily flower from the ancient French flags, they are all designs where the sentiment of sumptuous results from the power of conception and not from a baroque flood of means.
The Lear's costume began by being a suggestion of a military tunic, gradually becoming something else, therefore accompanying the decay of the king. But the thing which visually describes, with great force, by means of stage design, the idea of the precariousness of life and of the destiny is the wooden structure in the back of the scene, an element situating the entire play in the most intense stage design actuality. A creation bearing by far the mark Vittorio Holtier, multifunctional, plastic, striking, this structure where Lear, dethroned, with his mind troubled, finds himself as on a ship through a storm, is the most powerful stage design symbol of the play.

For the entire article in Romanian see:
Scenografi romani. Vittorio Holtier - Luminita BATALI –No. 115
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