Only few know how the most important opera theater in Italy, maybe the most famous in the world, has its name linked to the city of Verona and its Medieval history. We have to go back to 1300s when, with the powerful Scala family, Verona was the capital of a wide territory extende over almost the whole north East of Italy. As it often happened at that time, together with wars, Scala family leaders tried to consolidate their power through weddings alliances with neighboring countries. In 1350, Mastino II della Scala, lord of Verona, gave her doughter Beatrice away to Bernabò Visconti, eminent lord of Milan that was extending his control over Lombardy down to the West coast of lake Garda, right to the border of Verona territory. Even if the married was arranged, it turned out succesful and abiding. Bernabò and Beatrice had fifteen children and when she died in 1384, he impose to all Milan citizens a year of mourning. Because of her great dignity and royal manners Beatrice was known by everybody as Regina: Queen. In 1381 she ordered the the reconstruction of the church of Sant Veronica in Milan, close to Porta Nuova gate. The new chuch was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, but everybody ended up calling it with the name of its founder: Santa Maria della Scala. The church had ups and downs through the centuries and ended up in ruin. In 1776, under the Austrian domination of Milan, Maria Theresa of Habsburg ordered its demolition to make space for a new theater that preserved in its name the memory of the old church: Scala Theater.
Scala Theater was designed by the architect of Giuseppe Piermarini to subsitute the Teatro Ducale distroyed by a blaze in 1776. The opening was in 1778 with the opera Europa riconosciuta by Salieri, a composer from Verona. The exterior of the Scala theater is quite modest, typical of many neoclassical architectures. The interior, on the other side, is a typical example of horseshoe shaped, Italian style theater. In 1807 the polychrome interior decoration decorating was substituted with a neoclassic decoration designed by the stage designer Giovanni Perego. The present decoration was designed in 1830 by Sanquirico. From the very first opera representation the Scala theater became internationally known for the exceptioanlly quality of the performances and the reputation of performers, chosen among the most prestigious in every time and nation. The name of the Scala theater is indissolubly linked to the highest Italian melodramatic tradition. Among the masterpieces that had their premiere at the Scala theater in Milan there are Norma by Bellini, Nabucco, Otello and Falstaff by Verdi, Mefistofele by Boito, Madama Butterfly and Turandot by Puccini.
Second World War and the Reconstruction
The Scala theater was almost completely bombed out during second wrold war and rebuilt in record time. It was reopen in 1946, becoming a symbol of hope for the whole population of Milan. The inauguration was directed by Arturo Toscanini who had just come back from the States. Through the years at the Scala theater in Milan performed the most world wide famous singers, ballet dancers, conductors. Together with the opera activity, in Spring and Autumn at the Scala there are also symphonic activities. Close to the theater there is also the Scala Theater Museum, opened in 1913 that, together with a huge teater and music library displays an exceptional of autograph, portraits, heirlooms and other objects linked to the history of la Scala theater. From 1813 inside the theater operates a ballet school and in 1946 opened a specialization school for young singers. In 1955, close to the main theater was built a smalleer theater: Piccola Scala (Little Scala), where take place performances that do not require big stage sets, concerts and cultural events.
In car or train, Milan and la Scala theater, are one hour far from Verona. They can become a great destination for a day trip or an unforgettable night at the opera. For further infomation on Scala theater tickets and all included packages in Milan:
Transfer on private car with driver from airport or train station to the chosen hotel Two nights in double room in three stars hotel close to Verona city center Breakfast in hotel Opera Tickets, two performances Verona Card granting free access in all Verona museums and monuments