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Italy, Milano – In Verdi's Footsteps: The Temple of Music La Scala

Published: 13.6.2018
When you visit Italy, you have to taste some of the local delicious cuisine. But as food art also is an integral part of the soul of this country. Italians live with music, and the visit to the Apennine Peninsula can‘t not go without a seeing musical performance. And what is more than the world-famous La Scala opera house?

Opposite Piazza della Scala (on Via Filodrammatici street) is the most famous opera house in the world – La Scala. Most of the greatest Italian opera artists and many of the best singers from all over the world performed here. La Scala's only greatest competitor is the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The theater also has a school that educates the new generation of young musicians in the fields of music, dance, theater crafts and theater management.

La Scala opera

During the day, you can visit the Museo Teatrale alla Scala Museum (information on the opening hours and the admission can be found on the museum's website). The museum presents a collection of paintings, sculptures, costumes and documents related to La Scalla and the history of opera. Two collections are dedicated the persona highly beloved by Milanians – Verdi. Rossini, Puccini and Toscanini have also their place in the museum.

The neo-classical theater was founded by Maria Theresa and was opened on 3 September 1778 under the name the Nuevo Regio Ducal Teatro alla Scala. TSalieri's opera L'Europa riconosciuta was the first performance played there. La Scala starts the season on December 7 (on the patron saint's day - St. Ambrose).

Piazza della Scala

The name La Scala comes afterthe church of Santa Maria della Scala, which originally stood here. The precursor of this temple of culture was also the Regio Ducale Theater. Unfortunately it burnt down after the Carnival feast of 1776. The fire originated probably from the original lighting of the theater, i.e. thousands of oil lamps. In order to prevent a fire, there water buckets were in several rooms there. At the same time, a group of wealthy Milanians, who owned private lodges in the theater, wrote to the Archduke Ferdinand Charles Habsburg-Lorraine (son of Maria Theresa) a request for a new theater.

a performance in  La Scala

As with most theaters, La Scala also had a gambling casino in the lobby. The Second World War also struck hard La Scala. The building was damaged during a bombing raid (1943). It was not reopened before May 11, 1946. The last reconstruction of the theater underwent not a long time ago and on the 7th of December 2004 it was ceremonialy opened with the same opera as it for its first time. The tickets for the show were sold for 2,000 euros (about 51,000 CZK).

The place in front of the opera is lively all day long. Before the evening performance the atmosphere changes. We stand in front of the famous poster for a performance in La Scala. Today we will see Luisa Miller by Verdi. The tradition has it that whoever comes first to the poster after the performance, can take it off and take it as a souvenir.

plakát na představení v La Scale

In front of the museum and the souvenir store, street ticket vendors are waiting for possible customers. Tickets are quickly sold out as many different travel agents offer them as well. Therefore the rates are often different from official ones. We decided to risk it and buy them on the street. We bought them half the prices than tickets sold by a Slovakian travel agency. Even though the tickets are actually half the price we paid for them.

La Scala

The cheapest tickets are for the seats in the gallery at the very top of the theater. But even in a lodge you will see sometimes less than in the gallery above. In the past, these boxes belonged to a creature who wanted to be well seen. Of course, if you are in the royal lodge which is the largest and the more spacious, the view will be worth it. Theater space is filled with red velvet combined with gold and crystal chandeliers.

La Scala

Differences also manifest in clothing. If you have any doubt as to whether you are dressed appropriately, you do not have to worry about it in the gallery. You meet the audiences dressed in jeans and after the first act even tourists in short trousers, while in those would not let you into the Milan dome. The theater area became more populated as after the second act tickets could be bought at even cheaper rates.

La Scala is known for its controversial and emotional audience. It is full of opera lovers who are either excited or merciless. In the world of opera, it is considered baptism by fire, and failure is long remembered. After all, no artist wants to whistled out in the middle of the performance and replaced on stage.

La Scala after evening performance

All performances have to end here before midnight. Then, the space before the opera is filled again by the leaving visitors. The more solvent ones may be headed to the Grand Hotel Milano, which is just a few minutes' walk away. This 18th-century luxury hotel is also known as Giuseppe Verdi's house in Milan. Verdi stayed in this hotel on Via Manzoni street overlooking the fashionable Via Montenapoleone. Moreover, here he died in January 1901. The hotel still offers a stay in the Verdi's room with composer's original writing desk where he finished Othello and Falstaff operas.

Although Milan had been veiled into the night, the city offers many attractions for its visitors.

GPS: 45°28'02.3"N 9°11'23.4"E

 

Text and photos: Mgr. Anna Nociarová

Edited by: Infoglobe



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