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La Scala, Milan

La Scala, Milan (Teatro alla Scala). It. opera house built in 1778 and named after Regina della Scala, wife of a Duke of Milan, who had founded a church on the site in 14th cent. Opened on 3 Aug. 1778, with opera by Salieri. All the great 19th-cent. It. composers wrote works for La Scala. Among were La Gazza Ladra ( Rossini), Lucrezia Borgia ( Donizetti), Norma ( Bellini), Otello and Falstaff ( Verdi), Madama Butterfly and Turandot ( Puccini). Toscanini was chief cond. 1898–1902, 1906–8 and 1921–9, periods during which the greatest opera singers of the world worked in the co. Victor de Sabata took over dir. in 1930, continuing until 1957. In more recent times Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti have been the outstanding La Scala cond. Bombs almost destroyed the Scala in Aug. 1943 but by 1946 it had been rebuilt as before in time for opening concert on 11 May cond. Toscanini. Seats 3,600. Maria Callas was in the co. 1950–8 and Renata Tebaldi 1949–54. Chamber th. for 600, La Piccola Scala, was opened in Dec. 1955 and closed in 1983.

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