The Teatro alla Scala is the most famous opera theatre in the world.
It was built as a replacement of the old Teatro Ducale in 1776 by order of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and was inaugurated in 1778 with Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta. It owes its name to the place where it was built by the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini: the church of Santa Maria alla Scala.
Assigned place to melodrama, world famous artists performed at the Scala such as Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi.
The theatre was rebuilt after the bombing in 1943 and inaugurated a second time in 1946 with a concert conducted by artist director Arturo Toscanini.
Famous opera singers such as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Giulietta Simionato, Mirella Freni, Mario Del Monaco, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo; film directors Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, Luca Ronconi; well-known choreographers and dancers Leonide Massine, George Balanchine, Rudolf Nureyev, Carla Fracci, Luciana Savignano among others performed at the Scala.
With this musical offering and thanks to the rebuilding and modernisation of the scenic machinery undertaken between 2002 and 2004, La Scala is on a level with the greatest theatres of Europe and the world since the end of WWII.
On the 7th of December 2004 Riccardo Muti inaugurated the restored theatre playing Europa Riconosciuta by Salieri, as for the very first premiere in 1778.
If you can't land a ticket to see a performance, admission to the Museum allows you to see the Theatre from the third-level boxes, but only when rehearsals, performances or events open to the public are not in progress. Find out here the best moment for your visit.
The unique emotion of attending a show in the great hall that, arranged in a horseshoe with four tiers of boxes and galleries, has excellent acoustics. The stage allows the staging of gigantic scenic installations.
The beautiful central chandelier (with 365 light bulbs) is also impressive.
Since 1951, as for artistic director Victor De Sabata’s wish, the opening night takes place on the 7th of December, the feast of St Ambrose, patron saint of Milano. This helps to give extra symbolic meaning to the première.