La Scala

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Scala, La

[Teatro alla Scala], one of the world's great opera houses, located in Milan, Italy. It opened in 1778 with a production of Antonio SalieriSalieri, Antonio
, 1750–1825, Italian composer and conductor. He received his first training in Italy, going afterward (1766) to Vienna, where he remained as conductor of the opera and later (1788–1824) as court conductor to Joseph II, the emperor of Austria.
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's Europa Riconosciuta. Built on the site of the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, the opera house was designed by Giuseppe Piermarini. The building was remodeled in 1867, modernized in 1921, restored in 1946 after having been bombed in World War II, and renovated in 2002–4. La Scala has been the scene of many famous opera premieres, among them BelliniBellini, Vincenzo
, 1801–35, Italian opera composer. He acquired his musical training from his grandfather and father, and began composing religious and secular music in his childhood. His first opera, Adelson e Salvini, was successfully performed in 1825.
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's Norma, VerdiVerdi, Giuseppe
, 1813–1901, foremost Italian composer of opera, b. Le Roncole. Verdi, the son of an innkeeper, showed a precocious talent for the organ but was refused entrance to the Milan Conservatory as having been inadequately trained.
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's Otello and Falstaff, and PucciniPuccini, Giacomo
, 1858–1924, Italian composer of operas. He wrote some of the most popular works in the opera repertory. A descendant of a long line of musicians, he studied piano and organ at his Tuscan birthplace, Lucca, and in 1880 entered the Milan Conservatory.
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's Madame Butterfly and Turandot.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

La Scala


(properly, Teatro alla Scala), an opera house in Milan, Italy; one of the biggest centers of world opera.

The theater was built between 1776 and 1778 (architect, G. Piermarini) on the site of the Church of Santa Maria della Scala and named after it. The building was destroyed during World War II but was restored (engineer, L. Secci) and reopened in 1946. Before 1800 plays were also presented at La Scala, but the opera seasons (carnival, autumn, spring, and summer) were established from the theater’s first year.

Operatic works by Italian composers have always been the core of La Scala’s repertoire. It was the scene of the premieres of operas by P. Guglielmi, D. Cimarosa, L. Cherubini, and S. Mayr. From 1812 the theater’s history became inseparable from the works of Italy’s major composers: G. Rossini, G. Donizetti, V. Bellini, G. Verdi, and G. Puccini. Many of their works were first staged at La Scala: The Touchstone (1812) and The Thieving Magpie (1817) by Rossini; Norma (1831) by Bellini; Lucrezia Borgia (1833) by Donizetti; Nabucco (1842), Otello (1887), and Falstaff (1893) by Verdi; and Madame Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (1926) by Puccini.

La Scala also stages the works of foreign composers, including C. Gounod, R. Wagner, R. Strauss, C. Debussy, M. de Falla, L. Janáček, and F. Poulenc. The operas of such Russian and Soviet composers as Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Shostakovich have been presented there.

The outstanding Italian and foreign singers who have performed at La Scala include G. B. Rubini, G. Pasta, M. Malibran, A. Patti, F. Tamagno, M. Battistini, H. Dardée, E. Caruso, F. I. Chaliapin, L. V. Sobinov, T. Ruffo, T. Scipa, B. Gigli, T. Dal Monte, M. Del Monaco, M. Callas, R. Tebaldi, B. Christoff, J. Sutherland, and B. Nilsson. The greatest Italian and foreign conductors have worked at La Scala. A. Toscanini’s tenure as artistic director (1898–1903 and 1921–29) marked the peak of the theater’s history.

La Scala’s new productions in the 1960’s and 1970’s included La Bohème by Puccini (1963); Der Ring des Nibelungen by Wagner (1963); Macbeth by Verdi (1964); Khovanshchina (1967 and 1971) and Boris Godunov (1967) by Mussorgsky; and The Siege of Corinth by Rossini (1969; first performance in the 20th century). In the 1960’s young Soviet singers began to receive training at La Scala. A branch of the opera house, La Piccola Scala, was opened in 1955; it primarily stages the works of 17th-and 18th-century composers and modern chamber operas. The La Scala company toured the USSR in 1964 and 1974.


Teatr La Skala (Milan). Moscow, 1964. (Guest performances in the USSR.)
Cambiasi, P. La Scala: 1778–1906, 5th ed. Milan, 1906.
La Scala: 1946–1956. Edited by F. Armani. Milan, 1957.

V. V. TIMOKHIN [14–502–3; updated]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

La Scala (Teatro alla Scala)

“Theater at the Stairway”; Milan opera house; built 1776. [Ital. Hist.: EB, VI: 57]
See: Theater
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

La Scala

the chief opera house in Italy, in Milan (opened 1776)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005