La Scala Opera House, Milan
The Grand Dame of opera, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala opened to much fanfare in August 1778. The first performance to be held in the theatre was ‘Europa riconosciuta’ – ‘Europe revealed’ - a story of love, violence and politics set in Phoenicia, written by Antonio Salieri. Opening night was such a success that all the great opera composers wished to premiere their works in La Scala, from Rossini and Verdi to Bellini and Puccini.
Premieres were often daunting for writers, composers and performers. Above the boxes, a gallery called the loggione was where less wealthy fans could watch the performances. Usually crowded, the people were often critical and contributed greatly to the success or failure of the opera. Fortunately, they must have enjoyed Nabucco, Madam Butterfly and Turandot which premiered here and are still popular to this day!