La Scala Theater of Milan is the most famous Opera House in the world. Discover 5 curiosities on the Lyric Temple and its origins:
Why “La Scala”?
The Teatro alla Scala in Milan takes its name from the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, which once stood where the Teatro alla Scala is now. In turn the former church of Santa Maria alla Scala – that was built in 1381 – took its name from its commissioner, Beatrice Regina della Scala, descendant of the powerful extinct Veronese dynasty of the Scala (also known as the “Scaligera Family”).
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The box Number 13
We don’t know exactly which family this box belonged to (also because the boxes could be resold) but certainly it was to be curious people.
The box is entirely covered with mirrors, arranged with expertise, so you can see every corner of the theater and “spy” the moves of everyone.
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The Shining Theater
The Scala was the first theater in the world to be illuminated with electric light.
At the St. Stephen’s night of 1883, during Ponchielli’s “Gioconda”, Edison power plant powered 2,450 electric light bulbs for the first time, giving a surprising and unexpected light to the opera representation.
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The Opening Night
The tradition to inaugurate the lyrical season on December 7th, a day which is linked to the patron saint of Milan (St. Ambrose), was adopted on a stable basis only starting in 1951.
On December 7th, 1951, the opera show “The Vespers of Sicily” was performed by the “Divine” Maria Callas, who had debuted in Milan only a few months earlier.
Over the years, The Scala Opening Night has become a happening not only cultural, but also social: many are in fact the curious who stand for hours in front of the entrance in the hope of seeing VIPs taking part in the evening.
Since 2008, a few days before the première, there is the “Preview of the Opening Night”, which can only be attended by young people under the age of thirty.
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The Celtic Circle
The center of Milan has a Celtic heart that very few know. You can still see it in the roads around Teatro della Scala and Palazzo Marino, which form a circular perimeter.
Archaeological findings revealed the presence of a Celtic sanctuary, which consisted of a circular grassy area surrounded by trees. This sacred area – supposedly founded in the early VI Century BC – was called medhelan, which probably means “center of perfection” or “sacred middle ground”. Perhaps the Latin name of Mediolanum (and the current one Milano) derives from here.