Teatro alla Scala

The Teatro alla Scala was founded, under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre, which was destroyed by fire on 26 February 1776 and had until then been the home of opera in Milan. Designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, La Scala opened on 3 August 1778 with Antonio Salieri's opera L'Europa riconosciuta, to a libretto by Mattia Verazi. The early period of the theatre's artistic history is linked to the tradition of "Neapolitan" opera buffa, whose leading exponents were Giovanni Paisiello and Domenico Cimarosa.
Among the numerous operas performed may be mentioned La frascatana, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Nina pazza per amore by Paisiello, L'italiana in Londra and Il matrimonio segreto by Cimarosa. With the advent of Rossini in 1812 (La pietra del paragone), the Teatro alla Scala was to become the appointed place of Italian opera seria: of its history dating back more than a century and of its subsequent tradition up till the present.
The period between the two wars witnessed a succession of appearances at the Scala by the great artists of the time, among whom were Feodor Scialiapin, Magda Olivero, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Titta Ruffo, Gino Bechi, Beniamino Gigli, Mafalda Favero, Toti dal Monte, Gilda dalla Rizza and Aurelio Pertile.
In 1943 La Scala was severely damaged by bombing. Reopened on 11 May 1946, with a historic concert conducted by Toscanini, the theatre rapidly returned, under the management of Antonio Ghiringhelli, to its highest levels of production and art.
At the end of the season 2001, La Scala, which was designed by Piermarini, will undergo a major conservation work, which will include a complete overhaul of the technical layout of the stage. During the restoration, the artistic activity will take place in the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, the newly constructed theatre located in the abandoned Pirelli-Bicocca industrial plant.

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