Marco Filibeck has been working at the Teatro alla Scala since 1985 and was appointed Resident Lighting Designer in 2009. He has coordinated and designed the lighting for productions created by the most important opera directors, signed the lights for many classical and contemporary ballet productions and created the lighting design for art, fashion and photographic exhibitions. In 2018 he won the Abbiati Prize for the lighting for the show “Hansel und Gretel”, by Sven Eric Bechtolf, at the Teatro alla Scala. He is also responsible for the new lighting at the Teatro alla Scala Museum. Marco Filibeck is a teacher and the coordinator of the courses in Lighting Design at the Teatro alla Scala Accademy.
Lighting Designer: le origini
The English expression “Lighting Designer” literally "progettista della luce ”, refers to a relatively new profession which has not yet found a precise working definition in Italian.In the theater, until a few decades ago, the above-mentioned figure was called “giver of lights”: the senior and most expert among the electricians literally “gave the light”, or rather he empirically dealt with lighting the shows while, at the same time, aiming at enhancing the scenography and actually creating what would then be defined as "functional light".
Technological advances, starting from the late nineteenth century with the electrification of cities and theaters, allowed the first steps on a path which today recognizes light as an expressive language and which saw its first applications in the search for that characteristic realism of the late 1800’s, when lighting research was oriented towards the achievement of naturalistic effects. The reproduction of natural events, and more generally the attempt to reproduce reality, was the most important research of those years. After the avant-gardes of the early 1900’s such as Adolphe Appia, Mariano Fortuny and then futurists and experimenters like Giacomo Balla, the early 1960’s saw the start of a completely new development in which the search for the potential of light was aimed at the construction of an expressive and meaningful language. This language has seen its major exponents in figures like Josef Svoboda and in the research of Giorgio Strehler in Europe and, starting from the 1970’s, Robert Wilson in the United States. The contemporary lighting designer develops, therefore, a project designed to build a dramaturgy through light. Light thus can be transformed into a tale, offer support to the representation and contribute in an essential way to the storytelling. The landscape of light design has become rather complex today and is acquiring a growing role and importance.
Contemporary society communicates through personal as collective visual messaging regarding custom, markets, institutions and politics.
It is easy to see how light has a constantly increasing importance in this context and how contemporary messages
contemporary message arrive, ever more increasingly, through the work of light professionals.The fields of application of light design have multiplied (fashion, museums, architecture, design, metropolitan cities have been added to historical realities such as the theater, cinema, live shows and television) and the professional experiences of light designers in their various sectors, working in synergy, generate a kind of sharing that breaks down the ancient sectorial divisions. Thanks to technological development, different creative worlds, which in the past developed their own techniques and experiences, use common or similar products and technologies, such as digital platforms, innovative sources such as LEDs, control systems, video editing, moving lights, etc. In this process, the expressive poetics, as well as the aesthetic that guides the project for illumination in any field, is determined through the same contamination which is taking place for the technical component. The skills of the contemporary light designer are outlined, on the one hand, in a very specialized way and, on the other hand, by nourishing and sedimenting one’s visual culture which draws on all factors outside the specific activity. That of the lighting designer is therefore now a global professional figure as it develops through the transfer of knowledge, applications and research among a multiplicity of professional areas.