Production designer Beni Montresor died on October 11, in Verona, Italy, of pancreatic cancer. He was 78.
Born in 1926, in the village of Busolengo, Italy, he studied at an arts academy in Verona. After World War II, he worked in films for such directors as Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Roberto Rossellini; his stage productions at the time included The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giradoux and Beatrice Cenci by Alberto Moravia. Montresor moved to New York in 1960; his first opera design, Vanessa, by Samuel Barber, came that year.
His designs for The Metropolitan Opera included The Last Savage, La Gioconda, Esclarmonde, L’Elisir d’Amore, and La Cenerentola. For New York City Opera, he designed The Magic Flute, Daughter of the Regiment, Turandot, and L’Amore de Tre Re. His Broadway designers include Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965), Rags (1986), and The Marriage of Figaro (1986), for which he received a Tony nomination. Other designs included Gwendoline for San Diego Opera (1982), Lohengrin, Werther and La Boheme for Teatro Palermo, Samson and Delilah and Iphigenia at Tauris for Teatro Colon. He also directed operas, staging La Verdova Allegra for the Verona Opera Festival and Falstaff for La Societa dell’Opera Buffa, Saffo for the Wexford Festival, and Madame Butterfly for Teatro Massimo, Palermo; he also designed many of these productions.
Montresor was also a noted illustrator of children’s books, winning a Caldecott Medal 9j 1965 for May I Bring a Friend?, written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers.
He is survived by a brother.