The Milanese opera house Teatro La Scala is intrinsically linked with the history of Milan and its inhabitants. A landmark, La Scala ia a huge source of awe and inspiration for whoever lives in Milan.
Teatro La Scala is Milan’s foremost theatre and opera house, it was built in between 1776 and 1778 following a fire that destroyed the Teatro Regio Ducale after a carnival party. Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, (Milan was then part of the Austro Hungarian Empire), approved of the plans to rebuild the theatre put forward by the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini.
La Scala was built on the former location of the Santa Maria della Scala church, hence the opera house’s name. The theatre had a total over 3,000 seats organized into 678 pit-stalls, arranged in six tiers of boxes above which is the loggione or two galleries. Its stage is one of the largest in Italy, as well as a visible orchestra. The original structure was renovated in 1907, when it was given its current layout with 2,800 seats.
The gallery is typically crowded with the most critical opera aficionados, and La Scala's loggione is considered a baptism of fire in the opera world, and fiascos are long remembered.
The theatre was originally illuminated with 84 oil lamps mounted on the stage and another thousand in the rest of theatre. To prevent the risks of fire, several rooms were filled with hundreds of water buckets.
La Scala hosted the prima (first production) of many famous operas, and had a special relationship with Verdi, where he premiered most of his operas including his final Falstaff following a hiatus of a few years.
The building expenses which covered the lavish design of the original theatre were financed by the sale of the palchi (boxes) to the city’s aristocracy, the same section of society that petitioned the Austrians for a new opera house. The boxes were ornately decorated to fit the taste, and the pockets of the aristocrats who acquired them.
It is from these boxes that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana drew inspiration for some of their most exquisite creations in the Fall Winter 2013 baroque collection. A strong over arching theme of the collection was the imagined spectacle of gentlemen arriving for an evening at the opera, clad in their best evening outfits of suits and capes or military regalia for the army personnel. Finally, the embroidered jackets of lace, organza and velvet in many ways recall the ornate boxes in the theatre.