Milan and La Scala
Perhaps no opera house in the world can rival Milan and La Scala for sheer musical pedigree and glamour. Known by Italians as Teatro alla Scala, it’s premiered great works by Puccini and Bellini. Scores of glittering debuts have been made here – one of Italy’s largest stages – by virtuosos as diverse as Maria Callas and Paganini.
Verdi conducted his Requiem in this 18th century Neoclassical gem in 1874, and also conducted Toscanini on the cello in Otello.
This tour allows music lovers to become immersed in a whirlwind of history and stagecraft. The history of opera is lovingly detailed at La Scala’s museum, Museo Teatrale alla Scala, where a fascinating collection of paintings, costumes, statues and documents are curated.
A tour of the Ansaldo workshops, engine rooms of La Scala, reveals the secrets of staging opulent and world-class theatrical productions. Go backstage for a glimpse of carpenters working on set design and see the dressmakers running up flamboyant costumes.
With tickets to Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale and Francesca da Rimini by Riccardo Zandonai, this is a not-to-be-missed chance to live and breathe the world of Italian opera at its very finest.
- Backstage tour of the La Scala theatre
- Verdi home private visit
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We touch down in the sparkling city of Milan and transfer to our fabulous hotel in the centre of it all.
This afternoon we whet our appetites with a fascinating lecture on the history and operatic traditions of the region.
After dinner, we make our way to La Scala. Our performance this evening is Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, first shown at this venue over 150 years ago, and rapturously received.
This morning is devoted to La Scala, one of the world’s best-loved and most enchanting operatic venues. Here we enjoy a tour of the theatre’s lavish interiors, from its stunning auditorium, to its sumptuous royal box. We also take in La Scala’s museum, a spectacular collection of costume, portraits and historical instruments.
Tonight we enjoy dinner in the city.
An early start following breakfast we travel to La Scala’s own Ansaldo workshops, a vast industrial space in constant use, where sets are constructed, costumes are designed, and rehearsals are performed. A thrilling encounter with backstage life – and our chance to sneak a peek at what is coming next. We then visit Casa Verdi, the final resting place of Giuseppe Verdi. Described by this celebrated composer as his greatest achievement, Casa Verdi was established as a rest and retirement home in 1902, designed exclusively for those whose lives have been dedicated to music. Since then, over 1,000 musicians have called this beautiful sanctuary their home. As part of our visit we explore the house’s delightful museum, as well as exquisite rooms showing Casa Verdi as it would have been during the composer’s own lifetime.
A light for lunch at a nearby restaurant before returning to the hotel.
We will be served an early dinner so as to have time to get to the opera house for a backstage tour before this evening’s performance is Zandonai’s tragic masterpiece, Francesca da Rimini.
Some free time this morning before lunch. We then head for the restored palace of Casa Manzoni. It was here, in 1785, that the author Alessandro Manzoni was born. He later went on to write The Betrothed, the novel which propelled him into literary stardom. Verdi composed Requiem in his memory, and traces of Manzoni’s legacy still linger within these Renaissance walls.
We proceed to the airport and catch our flight back to London.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Opera Tickets - Entry to all performances in the programme. We request the seats in the centre stalls as these offer the best view although seats in boxes are usually more expensive. There is no guarantee that we will get the seats requested as availability is often limited. Where it is possible to avoid boxes as an alternative we will, but in some cases it may be the only option.
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Weather in April can be rather unpredictable although it should be pleasantly warm in the latter part of the April. Although you are unlikely to need winter clothing you may wish to pack a jacket and shoes suitable for cooler weather and possible rain.
There will be some walking around Milan although none of the distances are particularly long. The city is flat and most of the centre is closed to traffic. The hotel is about a 5 min walk from the cathedral square and 10 minutes to the La Scala opera house.
We will be walking to and from the opera house on both nights. Both performances start at 20:00. On performance evenings dinners will be served at the hotel at 18:00 on the first day and at 17:00 on 26 April. This earlier time is so that we can have time to eat something before setting off to the opera house where we are treated to a backstage tour just before the performance.
There is no particular requirement regarding a dress code to any of the performances at La Scala although you may feel more comfortable with smart casual clothing.
There is some free time for shopping and exploring the city. Credit cards are accepted in most places although you may need some cash, Euros, for smaller purchases.