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La Scala
La Scala
(pronounced [la ˈskaːla]; abbreviation in Italian language for the official name Teatro alla Scala [teˈaːtro alla ˈskaːla]) is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala (New Royal-Ducal Theatre alla Scala). The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta. Most of Italy's greatest operatic artists, and many of the finest singers from around the world, have appeared at La Scala. The theatre is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala
La Scala
Theatre Chorus, La Scala
La Scala
Theatre Ballet and La Scala
La Scala
Theatre Orchestra. The theatre also has an associate school, known as the La Scala
La Scala
Theatre Academy (Italian: Accademia Teatro alla Scala), which offers professional training in music, dance, stage craft and stage management.

Contents

1 Overview 2 History 3 Recent developments

3.1 Major renovation, 2002 to 2004 3.2 Management controversies and changes, 2005 onward

4 Principal conductors/Music directors 5 Premieres 6 References 7 External links

Overview[edit]

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, by night

La Scala's season opens on 7 December, Saint Ambrose's Day, the feast day of Milan's patron saint. All performances must end before midnight, and long operas start earlier in the evening when necessary. The Museo Teatrale alla Scala
Museo Teatrale alla Scala
( La Scala
La Scala
Theatre Museum), accessible from the theatre's foyer and a part of the house, contains a collection of paintings, drafts, statues, costumes, and other documents regarding La Scala's and opera history in general. La Scala also hosts the Accademia d'Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo (Academy for the Performing Arts). Its goal is to train a new generation of young musicians, technical staff, and dancers (at the Scuola di Ballo del Teatro alla Scala, one of the Academy's divisions). History[edit]

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A nineteenth-century depiction of the Teatro alla Scala

A fire destroyed the previous theatre, the Teatro Regio Ducale, on 25 February 1776, after a carnival gala. A group of ninety wealthy Milanese, who owned private boxes in the theatre, wrote to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este asking for a new theatre and a provisional one to be used while completing the new one. The neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini
Giuseppe Piermarini
produced an initial design but it was rejected by Count Firmian (the governor of the then Austrian Lombardy). A second plan was accepted in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa. The new theatre was built on the former location of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, from which the theatre gets its name. The church was deconsecrated and demolished and, over a period of two years, the theatre was completed by Pietro Marliani, Pietro Nosetti and Antonio and Giuseppe Fe. The theatre had a total of "3,000 or so" seats[1] organized into 678 pit-stalls, arranged in six tiers of boxes above which is the 'loggione' or two galleries. Its stage is one of the largest in Italy
Italy
(16.15m d x 20.4m w x 26m h). Building expenses were covered by the sale of boxes, which were lavishly decorated by their owners, impressing observers such as Stendhal. La Scala
La Scala
(as it came to be known) soon became the preeminent meeting place for noble and wealthy Milanese people. In the tradition of the times, the main floor had no chairs and spectators watched the shows standing up. The orchestra was in full sight, as the orchestra pit had not yet been built. Above the boxes, La Scala
La Scala
has a gallery—called the loggione—where the less wealthy can watch the performances. The gallery is typically crowded with the most critical opera aficionados, known as the loggionisti, who can be ecstatic or merciless towards singers' perceived successes or failures. For their failures, artists receive a "baptism of fire" from these aficionados, and fiascos are long remembered an example being when, in 2006, tenor Roberto Alagna
Roberto Alagna
was booed-off the stage during a performance of Aida
Aida
this forced his understudy, Antonello Palombi, to quickly replace him mid-scene without time to change into a costume. As with most of the theatres at that time, La Scala
La Scala
was also a casino, with gamblers sitting in the foyer.[2] Conditions in the auditorium, too, could be frustrating for the opera lover, as Mary Shelley discovered in September 1840:

At the Opera they were giving Otto Nicolai's Templario. Unfortunately, as is well known, the theatre of La Scala
La Scala
serves, not only as the universal drawing-room for all the society of Milan, but every sort of trading transaction, from horse-dealing to stock-jobbing, is carried on in the pit; so that brief and far between are the snatches of melody one can catch.[3]

La Scala
La Scala
was originally illuminated with 84 oil lamps mounted on the stage and another thousand in the rest of theatre. To prevent the risks of fire, several rooms were filled with hundreds of water buckets. In time, oil lamps were replaced by gas lamps, these in turn were replaced by electric lights in 1883.

Interior of the opera house in 1900

The original structure was renovated in 1907, when it was given its current layout with 1,987 seats. In 1943, during World War II, La Scala was severely damaged by bombing. It was rebuilt and reopened on 11 May 1946, with a memorable concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini—twice La Scala's principal conductor and an associate of the composers Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
and Giacomo Puccini—with a soprano solo by Renata Tebaldi, which created a sensation. La Scala
La Scala
hosted the first productions of many famous operas, and had a special relationship with Verdi. For several years, however, Verdi did not allow his work to be played here, as some of his music had been modified (he said "corrupted") by the orchestra. This dispute originated in a disagreement over the production of his Giovanna d'Arco in 1845; however the composer later conducted his Requiem there on 25 May 1874 and he announced in 1886 that La Scala
La Scala
would host the premiere of what was to become his penultimate opera, Otello.[4] The premiere of his last opera, Falstaff was also given in the theatre. In 1982, the Filarmonica della Scala was established, drawing its members from the larger pool of musicians that comprise the Orchestra della Scala. Recent developments[edit] Major renovation, 2002 to 2004[edit]

The exterior of La Scala
La Scala
in 2005 after the 2002/04 renovations

The theatre underwent a major renovation from early 2002 to late 2004. The theatre closed following the traditional 7 December 2001 season opening performances of Otello, which ran through December. From 19 January 2002 to November 2004, the opera company transferred to the new Teatro degli Arcimboldi, built in the Pirelli-Bicocca industrial area 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the city centre.

The theatre's restored interior

The renovation by architect Mario Botta
Mario Botta
proved controversial, as preservationists feared that historic details would be lost. However, the opera company was satisfied with the improvements to the structure and the sound quality, which was enhanced when the heavy red carpets in the hall were removed. The stage was entirely rebuilt, and an enlarged backstage allows more sets to be stored, permitting more productions. Seats now include monitors for the electronic libretto system provided by Radio Marconi, an Italian company, allowing audiences to follow opera libretti in English and Italian in addition to the original language. The opera house re-opened on 7 December 2004 with a production, conducted by Riccardo Muti, of Salieri's Europa riconosciuta, the opera performed at La Scala's inauguration in 1778.[5] Tickets for the re-opening fetched up to €2,000.[6] The renovations cost a reported €61 million, and left a budget shortfall that the opera house overcame in 2006.[6] Management controversies and changes, 2005 onward[edit]

Daniel Barenboim

Carlo Fontana, the general manager of La Scala
La Scala
since 1990, was dismissed in February 2005 by the board of governors over differences with the music director, Riccardo Muti. The resulting staff backlash caused serious disruptions and staff strikes. In a statement, the theatre's board said it was "urgent to unify the theatre's management." On 16 March 2005, the La Scala
La Scala
orchestra and other staff overwhelmingly approved a no-confidence motion against Muti, and demanded the resignation of Fontana's replacement, Mauro Meli. Muti had already been forced to cancel a concert a few days earlier because of the disagreements. Italy's culture minister, Giuliano Urbani, supported the conductor but called for urgent action by management to safeguard the smooth operation and prestige of La Scala. On 2 April 2005, Muti resigned from La Scala, citing "hostility" from staff members. In May 2005, Stéphane Lissner, formerly with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, was appointed General Manager and Artistic Director of La Scala, becoming the first non-Italian in its history to hold the office. On 15 May 2006, Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim
was named Maestro Scaligero, or de facto principal guest conductor, of the company. In October 2011, Barenboim was appointed the next music director of La Scala, effective December 2011, with an initial contract of 5 years.[7] In December 2013, management named Riccardo Chailly
Riccardo Chailly
the next music director of La Scala, effective 1 January 2015.[8] Stéphane Lissner left La Scala
La Scala
for the Paris Opera. His successor Alexander Pereira (de), formerly director of the Salzburg Festival, began his tenure on 1 October 2014.[9] La Scala
La Scala
will host the opening ceremony of the 134th IOC Session
134th IOC Session
in 2019. [10] Principal conductors/Music directors[edit]

Franco Faccio
Franco Faccio
(1871–1889)[11] Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
(1898–1908) Tullio Serafin (1909–1914, 1917–1918) La Scala
La Scala
was closed from 1918 to 1920 Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
(1921–1929) Victor de Sabata
Victor de Sabata
(1930–1953) Carlo Maria Giulini
Carlo Maria Giulini
(1953–1956) Guido Cantelli
Guido Cantelli
(1956)[12] Gianandrea Gavazzeni (1966–1968) Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado
(1968–1986) Riccardo Muti
Riccardo Muti
(1986–2005) The position was vacant from April 2005 until 6 December 2007 Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim
(2007–2014: Maestro scaligero, from December 2007; Direttore musicale, from December 2011) Riccardo Chailly
Riccardo Chailly
(2015–2022: Principal Conductor, calendar years 2015 and 2016; Direttore musicale, calendar years 2017 to 2022)

Premieres[edit]

See: Category:Opera world premieres at La Scala

1778: Europa riconosciuta
Europa riconosciuta
by Antonio Salieri 1794: Demofoonte by Marcos Portugal 1800: Idante, ovvero I sacrifici d'Ecate by Marcos Portugal 1812: La pietra del paragone
La pietra del paragone
by Gioachino Rossini 1813: Aureliano in Palmira
Aureliano in Palmira
by Gioachino Rossini 1814: Il turco in Italia
Il turco in Italia
by Gioachino Rossini 1820: Margherita d'Anjou
Margherita d'Anjou
by Giacomo Meyerbeer 1827: Il pirata
Il pirata
by Vincenzo Bellini 1829: La straniera
La straniera
by Vincenzo Bellini 1831: Norma by Vincenzo Bellini 1833: Lucrezia Borgia by Gaetano Donizetti 1835: Maria Stuarda
Maria Stuarda
by Gaetano Donizetti 1839: Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio by Giuseppe Verdi 1840: Un giorno di regno
Un giorno di regno
by Giuseppe Verdi 1842: Nabucco
Nabucco
by Giuseppe Verdi 1843: I Lombardi alla prima crociata
I Lombardi alla prima crociata
by Giuseppe Verdi 1845: Giovanna d'Arco
Giovanna d'Arco
by Giuseppe Verdi 1868: Mefistofele
Mefistofele
by Arrigo Boito 1870: Il Guarany
Il Guarany
by Antônio Carlos Gomes 1873: Fosca by Antônio Carlos Gomes 1876: La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli 1879: Maria Tudor by Antônio Carlos Gomes 1885: Marion Delorme
Marion Delorme
by Amilcare Ponchielli 1887: Otello
Otello
by Giuseppe Verdi 1889: Edgar by Giacomo Puccini 1892: La Wally
La Wally
by Alfredo Catalani 1893: Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi 1904: Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly
by Giacomo Puccini 1924: Nerone by Arrigo Boito 1926: Turandot
Turandot
by Giacomo Puccini 1957: Dialogues of the Carmelites
Dialogues of the Carmelites
by Francis Poulenc 1981: Donnerstag aus Licht
Donnerstag aus Licht
by Karlheinz Stockhausen 1984: Samstag aus Licht
Samstag aus Licht
by Karlheinz Stockhausen 1988: Montag aus Licht
Montag aus Licht
by Karlheinz Stockhausen 2007: Teneke by Fabio Vacchi 2011: Quartett by Luca Francesconi

References[edit] Notes

^ Beauvert, p. 80 ^ Mallach 2007, p. 165 ^ Shelley 1844, p. 111 ^ Kelley 2004, p. 317 ^ " La Scala
La Scala
revamp finished early". CBC News. 5 November 2004.  ^ a b " La Scala
La Scala
board fires top official". BBC News. 25 February 2005.  ^ "Barenboim to head La Scala". Gramophone. London. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.  ^ It's official: Riccardo Chailly
Riccardo Chailly
to be La Scala's new music director, Gramophone (London). 10 December 2013. ^ "Alexander Pereira to Begin La Scala
La Scala
Tenure in October 2014, Year Earlier Than Originally Announced". Opera News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.  ^ IOC ELECTS MILAN AS HOST OF THE IOC SESSION IN 2019 ^ Conati and Medici 1994, p. 42 ^ Cantelli died in an airplane crash one week after his appointment.

Sources

Beauvert, Thierry; Moatti, Jacques & Kleinefenn, Florian (1995). Opera Houses of the World. New York: The Vendome Press. ISBN 978-0865659773. (Subscription required (help)).  Conati, Marcello; Medici, Mario; Trans. William Weaver, eds. (25 July 1994). The Verdi-Boito Correspondence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226853048.  Kelly, Thomas Forrest (10 September 2004). First Nights at the Opera. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300100440.  Mallach, Alan (30 November 2007). The Autumn of Italian Opera: From Verismo to Modernism, 1890–1915. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. ISBN 978-1555536831.  Shelley, Mary (1844). Rambles in Germany and Italy
Italy
in 1840, 1842, and 1843. I. London: Edward Moxon. p. 111. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Teatro alla Scala.

Official website Accademia Teatro alla Scala official website David Willey, " La Scala
La Scala
faces uncertain future", BBC News
BBC News
online, 12 November 2005 Zoomable image of the interior Toscanini's reforms at La Scala Virtual tour Seat preview – Photo and sweep panorama overlooking the stage from every seat

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