Houses & Companies | La Scala, Milan | High Romantic | Opera

The Teatro alla Scala – known outside Italy as La Scala, Milan – is one of the world’s most famous opera houses and originally opened in the sixteenth century as the Salone Margherita in the Palazzo Ducale. Both this theatre and another built on its site, the Teatro Regio Ducale, burned down, in 1708 and 1776 respectively. After an appeal by 96 box holders to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, La Scala was built to replace the Ducale in 1778. The new opera house, which could hold an audience numbering 2,800, opened on 3 August 1778 with the premiere of Antonio Salieri’s (1750–1825) L’Europa riconosciuta (‘Europe Recognized’).

The worldwide reputation of La Scala was established in the early nineteenth century, when it staged important premieres of works by Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868), Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864) and others. In two years alone – 1824 to 1826 – operas by Rossini were given some 250 performances at La Scala. Works were commissioned from Vincenzo Bellini (1801–35) and from Verdi, including his Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio (‘Oberto, count of Saint Boniface’, 1839) and Nabucco (1842). Towards the end of the High Romantic era, in 1898, the despotic but charismatic conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867–1957) became director of La Scala, and later attracted many of the world’s greatest singers to its stage.

Introduction | High Romantic | Opera
Houses & Companies | Paris Opéra | High Romantic | Opera


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