Opera at Milan's La Scala is 200 years old. The world's most famous opera house?
Opera at Milan's La Scala is 200 years old. The world's most famous opera house began its 200th season on Wednesday (7 December) with a production of Verdi's Don Carlos, which was broadcast nationwide on television.
SYNOPSIS: During the bicentennial season, La Scala will present 11 classical operas, six from the pen of Verdi who is universally acclaimed as Italy's finest opera composer. This homage has an edge of irony. Verdi waged a long feud with La Scala. For 30 years he refused to allow his works to be permitted there. He contended La Scala put on bad productions before audiences that did not appreciate his works. Production values are lavish but La Scala audiences have suffered the reputation of being the rowdiest and most savagely critical of all.
Since its first production on August the 2nd, 1778, the La Scala season has normally run from December to May. Then bicentennial season, however will last for 12 months. The composer sharing the classical spotlight with Verdi will be Giacomo Puccini, whose most famous opera, Madame Butterfly, will be a highlight.
Plans to have the Don Carlos gala opening night televised throughout the world were thwarted by Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan. He has many of the stars appearing in Milan under contract to make a film version of Don Carlos and contended he had complete film and television rights that would have been prejudiced by a global broadcast. After 200 years ago, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand was in an audience which watched two ballets and heard a 'musical drama' called 'Europe Recognised'.