On November 17, 2023, the opera house Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo, Italy, hosted the premiere of Il Diluvio Universale [The Great Flood], a classic opera by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti which took new life in a contemporary reinterpretation with Riccardo Frizza (Conductor), MASBEDO (Project, directors, live directors and costumes), Mariano Furlani (Visual dramaturgy), and 2050+ (Scenography).


Having made its debut at the Real Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 6 March 1830, Il Diluvio Universale is a typical opera with a sacred subject designed for performance during Lent season. Staging Donizetti’s opera in 2023, the challenge was to combine the dramaturgical and musical themes in a vision that could be contemporary in all its aspects and dimensions. The current version of the opera reinterpreted the traditional narrative structure of Il Diluvio Universale to give voice to the “unheard prophets” of today’s world: through the trope of the Flood, the first natural cataclysm in history, the opera urged the audience to face timely and urgent issues related to the climate crisis, social injustices and political instabilities.

How can stage design contribute to making a classic opera relevant in today’s conversations around resource scarcity and climate change?

The stage was occupied by a performative machine designed by 2050+ acting simultaneously as a dinner table and an ark. Creating an aseptic space, this element denounced the contradiction between the exclusivity of the diners, their alleged freedom and at the same time their confinement in a protected, falsely sterile world: a “technological cage” which cannot protect them from the end of the world. Colliding two different functions into one single object, this key scenic element maintained a certain degree of ambiguity and revealed its double role only gradually throughout the opera.

Backstage at 2050+.

What is the symbolic role that food / the act of dining play in this endeavor?

Playing with the theme of “the double”, the dinner table / ark suggested that the two worlds that it was meant to circumscribe (the world of those who indulge in excesses and ignore the warnings of Noè, and the world of those who act to avert the bad omen) are in fact more intertwined than we would naturally think. Contextualized in today’s world, this ambiguity hinted to the difficulty we all experience daily in extricating ourselves from the tangles of responsibility and complicitness when it comes to our climate change.


2050+ is an interdisciplinary agency based in Milan that utilizes the tools of research, design and architecture to engage with diverse forms of critical spatial and artistic practices at the intersection of technology, politics and the environment.


TEAM 2050+

Nils Grootenzerink, Anton Krebs, Francesca Lantieri, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Massimo Tenan




Mariano Furlani


Riccardo Frizza


Sabino Civilleri and Manuela Lo Sicco


Fiammetta Baldiserri