La Scala Opera House (Teatro Alla Scala)
It is December 7, opening night at La Scala, and all of Milan is here, dressed to the nines: a well-heeled, passionate, and impossible-to-please audience as theatrical as the opera onstage. After 1,000 days of intensive and painstaking renovation, the world's most famous opera house reopened in 2004 to the astonishment and heartfelt approval of many, the uncontested star at its own reopening night. designed by Giuseppe Piermarini and originally opened in 1778, the highlights of La Scala's $78 million renovation are the outstanding acoustics (already considered some of the finest anywhere) and the drastic recreation of the backstage area, now a showcase of twenty-first-century technology. This gilt-and-velvet jewel box has hosted the best of the opera world from its earliest days. Verdi's "Otello" and "Falstaff" premiered here, as well as Puccini's "Turnadot" and Bellini's "Norma." Maria Callas sang here more than anywhere else. Included in the toe-to-toe renovation, the intimate Museo alla Scala, a must-see for opera lovers, has reopened in its original location (entrance is on Large Ghiringhelli) and has weathered the recent departure of the world renowned musical director Ricardo Muti.
When: Opera season runs from Dec 7 through July; ballet and concerts other months.
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