ROME (AP) – Emanuele Luzzati, whose haunting fairy tale images graced opera stages and animated films, has died in his home in Genoa, officials said Saturday. He was 85.

Luzzati is best known for the colorful, dreamlike style of his work, marked by figures and landscapes that seemed taken out of children’s fables. “He spoke the universal language of childhood,” the museum’s Web site said.

Luzzati died after falling ill Friday evening, said Laura Grendanin, a spokeswoman for a museum dedicated to Luzzati in his native city.

The cause of the death was not disclosed.

Luzzati designed sets and costumes for stage productions and operas, including for Milan’s La Scala and England’s Glyndebourne Festival. In 1963 he designed the set for Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Fifteen years later he turned the opera into a cartoon that remains one of his most famous works.

He won Oscar nominations for his work on two other animated films. The first nomination came in 1965 for his interpretation of Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie,” and second in 1973 for “Pulcinella,” according to the Web site of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Born on June 3, 1921, into a Jewish family, Luzzati moved to Switzerland after Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime passed racial laws in 1938. He attended the School of Fine Arts in Lausanne.

After World War II he returned to Italy and began professional work as a set designer in Milan. In the 1950s he intensified his work as ceramist, creating bas-reliefs and columns that helped establish him as one of Italy’s leading artists in the field.

In 1972, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale, while in 1993 an exhibition dedicated to his set designs was held at the Pompidou Center museum of contemporary art in Paris.

A versatile artist, Luzzati created illustrations for children’s books, decorations for cruise ships, as well as paintings and sculptures.

Luzzati was not married and had no children. A private funeral was planned for Monday, Grendanin said. Luzzati had been scheduled to receive an award given by Genoa’s city hall on Saturday, and the city was dedicating a memorial service to him.

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