A play called "Music for the Eyes, or Geometry of Sound," which premieres in the Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum on Friday, is dedicated to the life and works of Pietro Gonzaga /1751-1831/, the Italian-Russian painter and stage designer. A "wizard and magician" of the stage, Gonzaga spent 40 years of his life in Russia and died in St. Petersburg. Known for his great contribution to the art of theatrical scenery, the master of classicism was born in Italy, worked for La Scala and painted scenery for almost 300 performances staged in Rome, Genoa, Parma and other cities. Already a celebrity by 1792, Gonzaga moved to Russia and acted as the chief stage designer at Russian imperial theaters for 30 years. His theoretical works however, including a treatise called "Music for the Eyes," remained in the shadow. The play, which is based on books and letters by Gonzaga, features a thinker with an unconventional vision of art, who links music to architecture and ponders on the marvels of optics and acoustics. Reflections about the mission of a talent and the curves of an extraordinary fate are arranged to the music of Gluck, Mozart and Rossini. Apparently, Arkhangelskoye, where Gonzaga built the famous wooden theater that ranks among unique architectural monuments of the 19th century, is the best setting for the play. The theater, which is famous for its harmonious proportions and austerity of architectural forms, owns 4 original pieces of scenery and a theater curtain created by Gonzaga. However, these cannot be viewed today due to the fact that the unique building, which is protected by the World Monuments Watch as one of the world's 100 unique objects of cultural heritage, is under reconstruction.
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