Known in Italian as Teatro alla Scala, the opera house in Milan — an industrial city in Northern Italy often when compared with Chicago — is that the Mecca from the art form for performers and opera lovers the planet over. Aspiring singers who desire to really make it inside the playing field of opera imagine performing upon the stage of La Scala, much a similar way musicians yearn to play at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The opera house opened in 1778, and it is first production was an opera by renowned Baroque composer Antonio Salieri. La Scala was built to restore the Teatro Regio Ducal, which had burned towards the ground several years earlier. The name from the theater is derived coming from the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which formerly stood for this site. After considerable wrangling over interior design elements, the building was configured with slightly greater than 3, 000 seats into 600-plus pit stalls upon the main floor, six tiered balconies of personal boxes upon the side and rear walls, and two galleries above that. The leasing of those private boxes to wealthy individuals provided the bulk from the funds necessary to cover construction. The galleries above the boxes, referred to as loggione, were standing-room-only affairs that provided inexpensive entry towards the theater. Then as now, these gallery occupants could possibly be merciless in expressing their displeasure in case a singer or perhaps a production failed to satisfy their exacting standards. As recently as 2006, tenor Roberto Alagna was booed from the stage from the loggionistas during a performance of Verdi’s Aida ; his understudy was forced to exchange him in the center of the scene without being given an opportunity to change into costume.
Electric lights came to La Scala in 1883, and also the auditorium underwent significant renovation in 1907. This remodeling reduced the amount of seats to its present count of 2, 800. Bombing by Allied planes during WWII caused considerable damage towards the structure, however the edifice was rebuilt following the war and reopened having a memorial concert conducted by legendary maestro Arturo Toscanini. Another major renovation took place from January 2002 to November 2004, during which time opera productions were staged at another theater elsewhere in Milan. The backstage area was increased significantly to supply more storage space for sets, and an electronic libretto system was installed straight into the backs of each seat inside the house, thereby giving members from the audience instantaneous translations of whatever was being sung onstage. By removing the heavy carpeting through the entire auditorium, experts discovered that La Scala’s sound improved considerably.
Given the significance of opera in Italy and also the high profile of their patrons, It‘s hardly surprising that numerous notable operas have experienced their premieres at La Scala. These include the very first performances of a lot of Giuseppe Verdi’s compositions, including Nabucco 1824, I Lombardi 1843, and Otello 1887. This latter work, which many consider to become Verdi’s finest, is usually evolved to open each season, which typically begins on December 7. This date was selected since it is the feast day‘s Milan’s patron saint, Saint Ambrose. Other famous operas that were first performed upon the stage at La Scala include Il pirata and Norma by Vincenzo Bellini, Lucrezia Borgia and Maria Stuarda by Gaetano Donizetti, and Madama Butterfly and Turandot by Giacomo Puccini.
Music directors at La Scala have included Franco Faccio 1871-1889 (Verdi’s favorite conductor ), Claudio Abbado 1968-1986, and Riccardo Muti 1986-2005. Muti was succeeded by Daniel Barenboim 2007-2014, who consequently was replaced from the current officeholder, Riccardo Chailly, in time to the 2015 season. Maestro Chailly’s contract runs through 2022. A museum linked with the opera house is stuffed with paintings and statues that depict important moments in La Scala opera history, plus costumes and drafts of musical scores from most of the productions which have graced its stage down with the years.
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