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[Opinion] La Scala

Posted December. 08, 2004 22:59,   


Milan’s La Scala opera house in Italy reopened on December 7 after a three-year renovation, which began in 2001. Since its inauguration in 1778, La Scala has always been in the center of the world’s operas. The theater staged the first nights of Verdi`s "Otello" and Puccini`s "Turandot," and its stages made singers like Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano legends of opera.

Not the First Renovation of This 18th Century Theater-

La Scala lost most of its ceiling, stage, and seats due to bombing by Allied troops in 1943 during World War II. Since the theater had continuously staged performances for soldiers and patients even during the war, citizens in Milan suffered deeply from the loss of the theater. With full participation of the citizenry, its rebuilding took a short time. In 1944, a partly rebuilt, La Scala staged a testimonial concert and was fully renovated in April 1946 after the war.

The Makeover Cost About 80 Billion Won by Using State-Of-The-Art Technology-

The biggest change was carried out behind the stage, which will allow three different productions to be performed in a single day. The seats are refurbished with new screens, providing three-language service including Italian, English, and French. At the historic reopening gala, the production of Antonio Salieri`s “Europa Riconosciuta,” the first opera staged at La Scala 226 years ago, was played with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other honored guests from the world watching. The production was aired on large video screens set up throughout Milan as well as inside the city’s San Vittore prison for inmates, who also enjoyed the performance.

The Audience Gave Big Applause to the Rebirth of La Scala, Newly Equipped with a Perfect Sound System and Stage-

However, some worry for the future of the opera house. La Scala’s fame has come from prominent musicians, not from its excellent facilities. Succeeded by Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi, the genealogy of conductors who led Italian operas has vanished since the death of Puccini 80 years ago. There is no obvious successor to Toscanini and Muti. After Pavarotti, no singers are in sight to succeed him. Thanks to technological advances, the quality of a theater, the hardware of performances, has kept improving. However, without software to perform, the state-of-the-art equipment is useless.

Geum Dong-geun, Paris correspondent, gold@donga.com