Lelli e Masotti


For over 40 years, Silvia Lelli and Roberto Masotti have portrayed the world of performing arts and music through photography. They produced such a vast and remarkable archive of images that, in 2018, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage has designated it as an ‘asset of historical interest’. Lelli e Masotti’s archive is an extensive repository which offers the opportunity to step inside the world of live music, from classical to jazz, from opera to rock, to experimental music. It allows reconstructing and re-living almost half a century of history of theatre, music, dance and performing arts; seeing thousands of characters ‘at work’; getting an insight into the social and cultural changes that have occurred, too.

The exhibition comprises numerous portraits of famous artists, musicians, dancers, orchestra conductors and directors during memorable performances:  Claudio Abbado, Miles Davis, Demetrio Stratos, Laurie Anderson, Frank Zappa, Carlos Kleiber, John Cage, Keith Jarrett, Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Wilson, Pina Bausch and many others.

Lelli e Masotti’s sober anti-rhetorical style that rejects any excessively spectacular effect, the absolute concentration on black and white and the patient wait for that decisive moment perfectly condense an entire interpretation or an entire life; an instant that can show us the distinguishing trait – forever frozen in an image – of a movement, an expression, a sound, a great personality.


Number of works110 black&white photographs on baryta paper

Size37 x 48 cm / 14,5 x 19 in

Frames: black wood • 45 x 55 cm / 18 x 21,5 in  • conservation clear glass

MUSICHE revisited (video, 10’)
Video editing: Gianluca Lo Presti / MammaFotogramma
Sound editing: Massimo Falascone

Lelli e Masotti, MUSICHE,
Silvana Editoriale, 2019
184 pages, 120 images
Texts by Marco Pierini, Carlo Serra, Lelli e Masotti
Language: Italian and English


Internationally recognized photographers of theatre and the arts, Silvia Lelli and Roberto Masotti joined forces to form Lelli e Masotti in 1979, when they began collaborating as official photographers of Teatro alla Scala – a position they held for 17 years.
Both born in Ravenna, they moved to Milan in 1974. Since then, they have explored the performing arts and in particular music, producing photographs presented in exhibitions, installations and publications. Their subjects include such renowned artists as Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Demetrio Stratos, Frank Zappa, Jan Garbarek, Franco Battiato, Arvo Pärt, John Cage, Pina Bausch, Tadeusz Kantor, Pier’Alli, Merce Cunningham, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Sylvano Bussotti, Maurizio Pollini, Kim Kashkashian, Placido Domingo, Carla Fracci, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciana Savignano, to name just a few.
Lelli e Masotti have developed an aptitude for the stage and have used video as a means of multidisciplinary expression on several occasions with works devoted to nature, the landscape and theaters of Italy, orchestra conductors, John Cage and the piano. Their vast archive is an inexhaustible source of images for the publishing and recording industries. Their works are featured in public and private collections. They had cooperations with numerous institutions and Festivals, including Teatro alla Scala, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Festival MITO/Milan, Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera, Ravenna Festival, the Salzburg Festival.
Their photographs have been exhibited in renonewed international venues Ara Art Center in Seoul, Korea; Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany; Venice Art Biennale; MCA Chicago; Fondazione Mudima in Milan, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.
In 2019, RSI Swiss Radio and Television produced a documentary about their career, directed by Roberta Pedrini and titled Doppio clic.