of the Day
Clue of the Month
Scala: Famous opera house of Milan, Italy
____ (Milan opera house); Milan's La ____; Italy's La ____;
Famous opera house (with “La”); Teatro alla
2 times a year
in English language:
26086 / 86800
Scala courts controversy with Wagner gala opening
Sills Interview: La Scala bloopers!
Teatro alla Scala (or La Scala for short), in Milan, Italy, is
one of the world's most famous opera houses.
exterior view of the newly renovated La Sala Opera House. BBC
current edifice is the second theater on the site. A fire
destroyed the first, the ancient Teatro Ducale, on 25 February
after a carnival gala.
A group of ninety wealthy Milanese, who owned palchi
boxes) in the theater, wrote to Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria
for a new theater and a provisional one to be used while
completing the new one.
Giuseppe Piermarini produced an initial design but it was
rejected by Count Firmian (an Austrian governor). A second plan
was accepted in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa.
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 theater was completed by Pietro Marliani, Pietro
Nosetti and Antonio and Giuseppe Fe. The theater was inaugurated
on 3 August 1778,
under the name Nuovo
Regio Ducal Teatro alla Scala with
expenses were covered by the sale of palchi, which were lavishly
decorated by their owners, impressing such observers as Stendhal.
La Scala (as it soon came to be known) soon became the preeminent
meeting place for noble and wealthy Milanese people. In the
tradition of the times, the platea
main floor) had no chairs and spectators watched the shows
standing up. The orchestra was in full sight, as the golfo
pit) had not yet been built.
the boxes, La Scala has always had a gallery where the less
wealthy can watch the performances. It is called the loggione.
The loggione is typically crowded with the most critical opera
aficionados, who can be ecstatic or merciless towards singers'
perceived successes or failures. La Scala's loggione is
considered a baptism of fire in the opera world, and fiascos are
long remembered. (The famed tenor Carlo
Bergonzi, back on stage after many years, wasn't forgiven for a
bad start to his Aida
suffered merciless fischi
which in Italy signify contempt).
with most of the theaters at that time, La Scala was also a
casino, with gamblers sitting in the foyer.
Scala was originally illuminated with eighty-four oil lamps
mounted on the palcoscenico
another thousand in the rest of theater. 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. The original structure was
renovated in 1907, when it was given its current layout. In 1943,
during WWII, La Scala was severely damaged by bombing. It was
rebuilt and reopened on May 11, 1946, with a memorable concert
conducted by Arturo Toscanini.
Scala hosted the prima
production) of many famous operas, and had a special relationship
with Giuseppe 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.
now hosts a museum (accessible from the foyer) with an
extraordinary collection of paintings, drafts, statues, costumes,
and other documents regarding opera.
Scala's season traditionally opens on December 7, Saint Ambrose's
Day, Milan's patron saint. All performances must end before
midnight; long operas start earlier in the evening if need be.
Ticketholders are not allowed to enter after the performance has
begun. No exceptions are made, as Richard Burton
theatre was closed for renovation from 19 January
November 2004 on
a project by the Ticinese architect
Mario Botta. During the closure, the opera company was
transferred to the new Teatro degli Arcimboldi, far from the city
centre. The renovation proved controversial as preservationists
feared that historic details would be lost; however, the opera
company was said to be impressed with 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 re-constructed, and an enlarged backstage will allow
more sets to be stored, permitting more productions, and the
seats now include monitors allowing audiences to follow opera
libretti in English, French, and Italian. Tickets for the
re-opening fetched up to €2,000.
refurbished interior of La Scala
Fontana, the general manager of 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 theater's board said it was "urgent to unify
the theatre's management." On 16 March 2005, the La Scala
orchestra and other staff voted overwhelmingly in 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
May 2005, Stéphane Lissner, formerly with the
Aix-en-Provence Festival, was appointed as 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
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.
article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia
article "La Scala".