​5 things you didn't know about La Scala Opera House

Last Updated July 05, 2022

If you’re looking to learn more about the Italian theatre, then you should visit La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy. This building was constructed by the architect Giuseppe Piermarini and it has been providing entertainment since 1778. Since then, the opera house has undergone several renovations and changes, but even today it maintains its place as one of the most prestigious venues in the country. There are many interesting facts about this famous opera house that you may not have known before, so continue reading to discover them!

1) The La Scala opened in 1778
The world's oldest continuously operating opera house, Italy's Teatro alla Scala is also one of its most prestigious. Since its opening in 1778, it has played host to some of history's greatest singers and composers. Notable names include Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti and Giuseppe Verdi. It was closed during World War II because the Nazi German government considered it a hotbed for Italian resistance efforts against their occupation of the country.

2) The opera house closed in 1787
During a time of radical political change in Italy, Milan was, unsurprisingly, a hotbed of rebellion. The opera house was closed by King Vittorio Amedeo III in 1787 because it became associated with radical political organizations. In 1789, it was renamed Teatro Reale and used for other performances. 

3) It reopened in 1837
On December 26, 1837, La Scala reopened its doors to a wildly enthusiastic public. The reopening performance was Le Nozze di Figaro—the same work that had inaugurated Milan’s other opera house only five years earlier. It began what is known as La Scala’s golden age during which it became one of Italy’s foremost cultural institutions. 

4) Famous performances at the La Scala
The world-famous opera house has staged countless operas and seen many famous artists grace its stage. A few standouts: In 1831, La Scala presented Verdi’s Ernani and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. In 1886, it premiered Puccini’s first opera, Le Villi. And in 1922, it offered up Tosca by Puccini. The most recent performance was Turandot in 2016 by Giacomo Puccini.

5) Giuseppe Verdi chose La Scala over a palace
Giuseppe Verdi was inspired by a fairy tale in writing his masterpiece Aida, and was offered King Menelik II's Palace in Addis Ababa for inspiration. But he chose to write it in Italy at Teatro alla Scala in Milan – still going strong today as one of Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

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