Born in Milan, Maria Chiara Donato graduated in 1975 from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts (scenography) and obtained a scholarship at La Scala in Milan and then, two years later, her diploma of specialization in theater costumes decoration.
She was an assistant or decorator to various costume designers such as Luciano Damiani, Mauro Pagano, Carlo Diappi, Vera Marzot, Franca Squarciapino and Ezio Frigerio, in many European theaters (La Monnaie in Brussels, the Paris Opera, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Salzburg Festival).
In 1986, she designed the costumes for The Magic Flute in Basel in a production of Jean-Claude Auvray, which marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration (La Traviata in Toulouse and Montpellier, La Bohème and Madama Butterfly in Lucerne, Ernani in Montpellier and Liège, Dialogues des carmélites in Avignon, I Quattro Rusteghi at the Opéra Comique, Eugene Onegin in Tel‑Aviv, Fidelio in Marseille, La Forza del destino at the Paris Opera).
She worked with Michael Hampe (La Scala di seta and Il Maestro di, Maometto II), Mario Monicelli (Arsenic and Old Lace), Georges Wilson (Les Amants timides and Les Femmes savantes). At the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, she assisted Lluis Pasqual (Count Ory in 2003) and Giovanni Carluccio (Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra in 2004).
In recent years, she worked with the Compagnia della Rancia in Milan: The Sound of Music (2005), The Producers (2006), Cabaret (2007), High School Musical (2008), all of them directed by Saverio Marconi. In 2009, she designed the costumes for Alice in Wonderland for the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, in 2011 the costumes for Blackbird, still at the Piccolo Teatro; in 2018, those for West Side Story at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and those for Mary Poppins at the National Theater in Milan.
Since the 2003/04 season, she has been teaching the history of stage costumes at the Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri dello spettacolo in La Scala, Milan.
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