Opera at Milan's La Scala is 200 years old. The world's most famous opera house?
SV PAN FROM: pogeons TO Piazza Del Duomo and Gallery Victor Emmanuel (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Opera House.
CU PAN DOWN: facade TO poster (2 shots)
MV: dressmaker walking past rows of gowns.
MCU: one artiste trying on gown, watched by another. (2 shots)
SV PAN: orchestra turning up.
MV TRACKING SHOT ALONG rows of empty seats
SV: stage hands carrying part of set.
CU: lights PULL BACK TO GV opera boxes.
MV AND CU: technician looking at TV monitor screens with conductor Claudio Abbado (3 shots)
SV: Stage hands carrying set props
MV: stage assistant covering chaise longue
MCU: Tenor Jose Carreras entering.
MCU: Soprano Mirella Freni leaving dressing room in crown and cape (2 shots)
MV: Artistes chatting backstage.
GV: Carrreras and Freni and others on stage with artists looking on during rehearsals (2 shots)
CU: pile of plaster figures from sets.
SV: conductor Abbado PAN TO Signorina Freni.
CU: Artists look on as Carreras and Freni sing on stage (3 shots)
La Scala was built in neo-classical style by Giuseppe Piermarini, designer of Milan's Royal Palace, after the city's wooden Ducal Theatre burnt down in 1776. Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, which ruled Lombardy at the time, gave the site of the old Santa Maria Della Scala church for the theatre, which was financed by 90 wealthy Milanese patrons. In its early years, the theatre had no fixed seats in the stalls. Private parties would make a tremendous din during performances. Fans of rival stars whistled their favourites as singers and dancers vied with each other to attract the audience's attention. In 1812, a premiere performance of 'La Pietra del Paragone', a first work by a 20-year-old unknown, Gioacchino Rossini, established the fame of both composer and theatre.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: 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'.