Presented the project The red thread between Arrigo and Leonor: Arrigo Boito and Eleonora Duse

On the centenary of the Divina Eleonora Duse's death, the Circle, supported by fundamental partners, will promote activities in Belluno, Ponte nelle Alpi, and the province of Treviso

Events - published on 21 May 2024

Source: Press office Circolo Stampa Bellunese


Belluno, 18 May 2024 – “Il filo rosso tra Arrigo e Leonor: Arrigo Boito ed Eleonora Duse nel centenario della morte della Divina” (“The red thread between Arrigo and Leonor: Arrigo Boito and Eleonora Duse on the centenary of the death of the Divina“) is the title of the macro-project presented this morning at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso – Belluno|Dolomites.

The project came about thanks to the cooperation of the Giorgio Cini Foundation of Venice, and in particular of the director, Maria Ida Biggi, of the Institute for Theatre and Melodrama, to make part of the original Boito-Duse correspondence and related photographic material available to the Circolo Stampa Bellunese.

A unique cultural heritage, preserved in the Duse archive on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.

The other partners who have believed in the initiative are the Veneto Region’s Culture Department, which has included it among the Great Events 2024, the Chamber of Commerce of the Treviso-Belluno|Dolomites, the Province of Belluno, the Municipality of Belluno, and the Municipality of Ponte nelle Alpi.

Arrigo Boito was the son, together with his brother Camillo, of Silvestro born in Polpet di Ponte nelle Alpi (province of Belluno)

Silvestro Boito, whose birth house in Polpet has been bought half by the Municipality of Ponte delle Alpi, and will become a museum and an archive of literature, theatre and music.

The Circolo Stampa Bellunese, in fact, has always valorised the talents of the Belluno area that have distinguished themselves for their ingenuity and ability in various sectors, and, seizing the occasion of the centenary of Eleonora Duse’s death, it wants to celebrate the extraordinary decade at the end of the 19th century that saw the artistic collaboration and sentimental relationship between the famous librettist and composer and the Divina. An extraordinary marriage of artistic intelligences, of music and prose, of theatre and poetry.

‘The beautiful dream of love,’ –  explained the President of the Circolo Stampa Bellunese, Luigino Boito, – ’began on the evening of 14 May 1884. In fact, the first meeting between Arrigo Boito and Eleonora Duse took place at the Cova restaurant, during a dinner offered to the diva by some frequenters of the Teatro Carcano, where the actress had performed Alexandre Dumas’ The Lady of the Camellias. Arrigo was struck by Duse’s beauty. Thirty-six hours after that meeting, Boito wrote to her: Signora, you have left and the thread has broken. And we have fallen to the ground. Verga, Gualdo and I, with our noses on the floor. After 36 hours my hand turns over this card that is dedicated to you. There is no obligation to respond. Instead, Eleonora replies and some time later begins their relationship’.

‘We can say,’ concluded Luigino Boito, ‘that this project has national value because both Arrigo, with a father from Belluno, and Eleonora, with a father and mother from Chioggia, were two great Veneto people in the world’.

‘On the centenary of the death of Eleonora Duse, the Chamber of Commerce that I preside over,’ points out President Mario Pozza, – ’collaborates with and supports the project “The Red Thread between Arrigo and Leonor”, in the absolute certainty that culture is the best way to communicate the great names of our territory. With this brilliant intuition that allows us to get to know what is collected in the Giorgio Cini Foundation archives, in a widespread exhibition, a red thread is also created between the mountains and the plains. Places that express themselves through works, creating an awareness of how vast the cultural, literary and artistic heritage is’.

The project will be developed through a series of activities that will be organised between Belluno, Ponte nelle Alpi and the province of Treviso, ranging from theatre, an exhibition, a conference and the screening of a film and a short film dedicated to the protagonists.

Below is the programme of the project:

Saturday 26 October 2024 – G. Pierobon Theatre in Paiane (Ponte nelle Alpi)

THEATRICAL SHOW ‘NON SENTIRE IL MALE – DEDICATO A ELEONORA DUSE’, with Elena Bucci, Le belle bandiere company of Ravenna

An emotional monologue traverses the life, loves and art of the Divine Eleonora, returning to the public the portrait of an extraordinary woman and artist.

Saturday 23 November 2024 – Teatro G. Pierobon di Paiane (Ponte nelle Alpi)

In December Teatro di Zero Branco and Teatro Da Ponte di Vittorio Veneto (dates to be defined)


A show dedicated to an analysis of the figure of Duse in the round with parts taken from the extraordinary correspondence between Eleonora Duse and Arrigo Boito.

October/November 2024, Dino Buzzati Theatre in Belluno/Theatre G. Pierobon in Paiane (Ponte nelle Alpi)

THEATRICAL SHOW ‘IO FUI GIULIETTA’, company Teatro Stabile di Verona

Matinee for secondary schools

The show focuses on Eleonora Duse’s relationship with the works of Shakespeare. Eleonora’s thunderbolt for the art of acting as a young girl – obliged to act but not enthusiastic – occurs, in fact, precisely through the character of Juliet and precisely in Verona, inside the Arena, as the great performer recounted in her memoirs.

October-December 2024 – Palazzo Fulcis, Belluno/ Chamber of Commerce Treviso-Belluno|Dolomites

CONFERENCE ‘ELEONORA DUSE AND ARRIGO BOITO’, organised by Prof. Maria Ida Biggi, Giorgio Cini Foundation

A meeting dedicated to the two characters, in the dual declination of their human and artistic relationship. The two worked intensively on the stage performance of several Shakespearean texts translated and adapted especially for her by Boito. Of these, the only one that was actually performed was Antony and Cleopatra.

15 November 2024 – 6 January 2025, Palazzo Fulcis, Belluno


The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Giorgio Cini Foundation and the Municipality of Belluno, presents a number of documents from the Duse archive kept on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. Through a journey through Boito’s unpublished materials, which include the Duse-Boito epistolary and the annotated scripts of Shakespeare’s plays – translated and adapted by Boito for Duse – the aim is to explore the relationship between Arrigo and Eleonora, in its twofold human and artistic declination. Having met in 1884, the two fell in love in 1887, the year in which they began an intense and passionate love affair documented by many letters. The relationship between the two continued until 1894, while their friendship lasted for the rest of their lives: Boito’s presence in the Divina’s life was to be a constant even after her death, as evidenced by the references to the artist found in Dusi’s countless autographs. Completing the exhibition are two series of panels, produced by the Giorgio Cini Foundation’s Institute for Theatre and Melodrama, richly documented and illustrated, dedicated to the artistic career of Eleonora Duse and Arrigo Boito.

October 2024, Teatro G. Pierobon di Paiane (Ponte nelle Alpi)

Screening of SHORT FILM ‘S’IO FIAMMEGGIO NEL CALDO D’AMORE. DANTE NELLE LETTERE DI ELEONORA DUSE E ARRIGO BOITO”, 2021, made by the Giorgio Cini Foundation and lecture by the curators Paola Bigatto and Marianna Zannoni

The short film – made in 2021 in the context of the activities of the National Committee for the celebrations of the centenary of Arrigo Boito’s death (1918-2018) – highlights the copious presence in the Duse-Boito correspondence of quotations from works by Dante Alighieri. The screenplay, curated by Paola Bigatto and Marianna Zannoni, delicately brings out the nuances that Dante’s verses take on over time within the love and professional relationship between Eleonora Duse and Arrigo Boito, who brought the actress close to the Supreme Poet. In the video, letters, quotations, references follow one another in a long dialogue to which Elena Nico and Andrea Bonfanti have given voice. The filming and editing, both by Bianca Pollock, offer the audience the opportunity to view previously unpublished materials and documents preserved in the Duse Archive: the original letters of both Eleonora and Arrigo, photographic prints, objects and clothes of the actress, as well as a very small pocket edition of the Divine Comedy.

November 2024, Cinema Italia, Belluno

Screening of the FILM ‘CENERE’ (1916) and conference with the Giorgio Cini Foundation

This film, shot in August 1916, features the only film performance of the theatre actress Eleonora Duse: a silent film, set in Sardinia, and based on the 1904 novel of the same name by the writer Grazia Deledda. The film tells the story of Rosalia Derios, the mother of an illegitimate son, Ananias. Being poor, she entrusts him to his natural father and his wife. Ananias studies and has good prospects for his future. As an adult, he becomes engaged to his childhood friend Margherita but tries to track down Rosalia with the help of his adoptive mother, who has become a widow in the meantime. Discovering Rosalia’s destitute state, he promises her that he will ask his future bride to take her under the same roof. Margherita, however, refuses. Upon learning this, Rosalia resigns herself to her fate of loneliness and kills herself, not knowing that her son is willing to leave his fiancée to stay with her.

October-November 2024


An itinerary through the streets of the village to tell the story of the Boito family, retracing the places of Arrigo and Camillo’s father, Silvestro, with particular reference to his birthplace. The ancient residence, in fact, was recently acquired by the Municipality of Ponte nelle Alpi to become a museum dedicated to opera, music and theatre.

Courses and conferences




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