Directly behind the Vittorio Emanuele Galleria and facing La Scala is the Piazza La Scala. In the center is a monument consisting of several statutes of which the one of Da Vinci dominates. I'm not exactly sure what the Da Vinci connection is here, but maybe after I find the book on Milan that I bought, it can shed some light on this. Or if any of you VT's have the facts, let me know. The statue of Da Vinci seemed eerie to me after having read "The Da Vinci Code" a few months ago which connected him with the "illuminati."
Perhaps the most venerated temple to opera in the world is the Teatro alla Scala but its outside appearance seems to belie its internal beauty. Designed by architect Giuseppe Piermarini, La Scala opened its doors to the world in 1778 with Antonio Salieri's "L'Europa Riconosciuta." La Scala was built, under the "auspices" of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Regio Teatro Ducal built in 1589 which was destroyed by fire. In a complicated situation of land ownership, the owners of theater boxes of the Ducal were the individuals who actually paid for the building of La Scala which is built on the former site of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala.
La Scala is known far and wide for its incomparable acoustics and the many musical giants who performed here or had their works performed here including Verdi; opera singer, Maria Callas; and Arturo Toscanini. It is also home to Scuolo di Ballo (La Scalla's Ballet Company) and Museo Teatrale alla Scala which is located in its annex. For those VT'rs who were Thespians and Garricks, you might enjoy the museum here which is said to be a treasure of paintings, sculpture, backdrops and other memorabilia of prominent singers and composers who have created history in La Scala. La Scala was undergoing renovation (which began in 2002), the face of La Scala was shrouded when I saw it (March 2004). Apparently, renovations have now been completed.
NOTICE: please check the website to make sure that any performances you plan to attend are, in fact, actually taking place. A quick check today (3/25/09) revealed that a performance of "I due Foscari" scheduled for 3/31/09 is being cancelled due to a national strike!!
Check the website for current prices of admission to the various tours, museums or for combination tickets.
Is one of the world's most famous opera houses. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778, under the name Nuovo Regio Ducal Teatro alla Scala with Salieri's Europa riconosciuta. La Scala's season traditionally opens on 7 December, 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.
El Teatro de la Scala es uno de los teatros más famosos del mundo. Fue el primer monumento reconstruido tras los bombardeos de 1943 y cuenta con el privilegio de haber sido sede del estreno de muchas óperas famosas y de haber mantenido una relación muy especial con el compositor Giuseppe Verdi.
In one wing of the opera house, off to the left of the main entrance, is the Theater Museum of La Scala.
The first photo shows the entrance to the museum, which is also the entrance to the galleries when there is an opera performance. And this is also where the scalpers tend to hang out trying to sell black-market tickets at exorbitant prices.
The museum consists of ten rooms with displays of musical instruments, paintings and other artifacts from the history of opera in general and La Scala in particular.
Also there is a space for temporary exhibitions. When I was there the exhibit was on the singer Maria Callas at La Scala.
No photography is allowed inside the museum.
The museum is open almost every day (all except nine days per year) from 9 am to 12.30 pm (last entrance at 12 noon) and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm (last entrance at 5 pm). A normal full-price admission ticket costs five Euros and includes a glimpse of the auditorium from one of the boxes, except when rehearsals or performances are in progress.
When I was there they were adjusting the lighting for the first act of Verdi's Macbeth (as in other opera houses, an extra player wearing one of the costumes had to stand around for hours while they did this), but we were allowed to have a look just the same.
Second photo: For three days during my visit to Milan there was a large trailer from the Cecilia Bartoli Music Foundation parked outside the museum. In it was an interesting free exhibition on the famous singer Maria Malibran (1808-1836). Malibran was the big star of La Scala for three seasons in the 1830s. Of course Cecilia Bartoli herself was also in town to give a recital of arias from Malibran's repertoire, "Malibran Rediscovered".
If for some reason you would like to attend an opera performance at Milan's Teatro alla Scala (even after reading my other tips, LOL), you of course have to buy a ticket, which can be a problem since performances are generally sold out weeks or months ahead of time.
One way is to line up (well in advance of the date you want!) at the box office in the Duomo subway station, as these young folks are doing, though I suspect they are eligible for student tickets at reduced prices.
Or you can try to get one of the 140 numbered gallery tickets that go on sale on the day of the performance. There are elaborate regulations for getting one of these tickets -- only one per person. I've never done it, so I can't speak from personal experience, but basically you have to line up at the ticket office in Via Filodrammatici (not the one in the subway station) by 1 pm to get your name put on the list, and then be there again at 5.30 pm for the roll call and sale of the tickets. And then be back at 8 pm for the performance, so it's pretty much of an all-day procedure.
Another way is to spend several hundred Euros and buy a black-market ticket from one of the scalpers who hang around the entrance to the Scala Museum every afternoon. These are shady-looking characters who talk out of the sides of their mouths, wear their hats down over their eyes and have several tickets fanned out in one hand (I'm not making this up).
Or you could buy your tickets on the internet, as I did. After lots of clicking around I finally managed to snag tickets for two different performances.
They have a list on their website of when each opera goes on sale (about two months before the premiere), and when I tried to access their website at 9 a.m. Italian time on the first day I kept getting notices saying they were overloaded and please try again later.
When I got in an hour later there were no tickets left, BUT. . . I discovered that the trick is to try again six hours later, because anyone who has reserved a ticket has six hours to pay for it, and if they don't it goes back on sale.
So at 3 pm Italian time the number of available tickets on different dates starts changing from 0 to 1 or 2 or whatever (the record was 13 while I was watching), and then back to 0 again a few minutes later. So you just have to keep watching the numbers, and when a ticket you want shows up on the screen, pounce on it. Of course it helps if you live in the same time zone and have nothing particular to do on that afternoon.
If you live in California, for instance, you would have to get up at six o'clock in the morning to do this.
Second photo: More people lining up for tickets at the box office in the subway station.
When the Teatro alla Scala was closed for restructuring at the beginning of 2002 they didn't exactly tell the general public what they were planning to do.
About a year later there was a huge outcry when someone discovered from an aerial photograph that there was nothing but a huge hole where the historic 18th century stage used to be. This is when the management came out with the truth of the matter, which was that the old impractical stage was being replaced by brand new a state-of-the-art high-tech 21st century stage and backstage with all the latest machinery, so they could make scene changes without having hundreds of stage hands lugging things around.
When the restructuring was finished at the end of 2004 there were two very visible new elements sticking out from behind the historical façade.
On the left in the photo is an ellipsis which contains among other things the dressing rooms for the singers, dancers, technicians, orchestra and chorus. On the right is a new rectangular stage tower which contains all the new stage machinery as well as rehearsal halls for the chorus, orchestra and ballet company.
Second photo: In this nighttime photo of the façade you can see the rows of lights that have been placed in the rectangular stage tower.
Third photo: The ellipsis and the stage tower as seen from the roof of the cathedral. The glass dome in the foreground is the roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Scala is one of the most famous theater in Italy and Europe for the performances taking place. It has gone through a long renovation which unfortunately coincided with my expatriate period in Milan. However, it doesn't change the fact that this theater is a must see if you come to Milan. You have 2 options. The first one is to take a guided tour and see the theater when empty. The second one is to find a ticket and watch a performance. I only suggest the first plan if you can't succeed in plan two.
It's one of the world's best and most famous opera houses. It was built by Giuseppe Piermarini at the end of 18th century. Although it suffered major damage during the IIWW, it was perfectly renovated.
Teatro alla Scala, or la Scala, is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world. It was built in the 18th century after its preceeding theatre was destroyed in a fire. Since its completion, it has hosted the premieres of many of the world's famous operas (including Madame Butterfly) and served as a model for newer opera houses around the world. During World War II, la Scala was severely damaged, but was quickly rebuilt after the war.
An appealing building - pictured from the front with the portico entrance (where horsedrawn carriages pulled up), it also houses a museum.
Book well ahead if you want to see a show ! Maybe next time !
Still one of the 'sights' though! Giuseppe Piermarini's 1778 design has been restored following air raid damage in WWII.
Hotel Principe Di Savoia Milan
7 Reviews and 363 Opinions One of Milan's best hotels, Principe di Savoia is housed in a Belle Epoque-style building. Though...
Park Hyatt Milan Milan
2 Reviews and 351 Opinions The worse hotel I ever stayed. My mum, my sister and myself were robbed inside our hotel room. The...
1 Review and 544 Opinions Why booked the Special room for 320 euro per night, because it looked the pretiest from the photos...