Beni Montresor

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Beni Montresor, Photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1964.

Beni Montresor (born 31 March 1926 in Bussolengo, Italy; died 11 October 2001 in Verona, Italy) was a versatile Italian artist, opera and film director, set designer, author and children's book illustrator. He won the 1965 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing May I Bring a Friend?.[1] The Italian government knighted him in 1966 for his contributions to the arts.


Montresor was particularly known in the United States as a designer of sets, lighting and costumes for opera. He designed sets and costumes for the 1964 American premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's opera, The Last Savage at the Metropolitan Opera. He also designed the evocative and ephemeral scenery and lighting for the Washington Opera/New York City Opera revival of the Montemezzi opera The Love of Three Kings in 1981.[2] He was the Artistic Director of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in 1988-1989.[3] He directed two films, Pilgrimage (1972), starring Cliff De Young and La Messe dorée [fr] (1975), starring Lucia Bose.[4] He was also a stage and film set designer with commissions from La Scala, Spoleto, the Glyndebourne Festival, the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera for productions like La Gioconda, Esclarmonde, The Last Savage, The Daughter of the Regiment, L'Elisir d'Amore (Metropolitan Opera), Aida and The Magic Flute (New York City Opera). Montresor worked with film directors Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini among others.[2]

Private life[edit]

Montresor had a longer term affair with the writer Anne Cumming in the 1950s whilst she was married and also had many other gay and straight affairs.[5]


  1. ^ "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present". American Library Association. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b Honan, William H. (13 October 2001). "Beni Montresor, Artist in 2 Worlds, Dies at 78". New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  3. ^ Fratello, Giovanni (11 April 2008). "Lo sguardo di Beni Montresor" (in Italian). L'Unità. Retrieved 24 February 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Dal Colore alla Luce:Beni Montresor. Un protagonista del teatro internazionale" (in Italian). Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Felicity Mason/Anne Cumming – A Brief Biography and Interview – Jennie Skerl". European Beat Studies Network. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2017.

External links[edit]