Milan: city of theatres

Milan: city of theatres

Milan is the Italian metropolis most renowned for its economic importance and its attitude to worldly pleasures. Crossroads of the artistic-cultural dynamics throughout Europe and host to some of the most important events, this year in the Lombardy city Expo 2015 will take place, the world’s fair dedicated to the exposition of products and technologies that are famous throughout the world. In addition to fashion and design, Milan also maintains an important cultural tradition, also due to the presence throughout the urban territory of many of the most important Italian theatres and activities which, especially this year, will offer a rich calendar of events.

La Scala of Milan
Via Filodrammatici 2, 20121 Milan

Famous throughout the world, the Teatro alla Scala was inaugurated in 1778 by resolve of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, with the performance of “L’Europa riconosciuta” by Antonio Salieri. Its name derives from the Church of Santa Maria alla Scala, which previously stood in the same place where the theatre stands today, and the structure – praised also by Stendhal – was designed by the famous architect Giuseppe Piermarini, while the pictorial decoration was created by Giuseppe Levati, Giuseppe Reina and Domenico Riccardi. Thanks to its central location, very close to the Cathedral in Milan, La Scala theatre was, and is also currently, home of many of the most famous theatrical premiers at an international level: Nabucco by Verdi (1842), Madame Butterfly (1904), Turandot by Puccini (1924), and Il Turco in Italia by Giocchino Rossini (1814). Not to mention the illustrious stars who have trodden its stage, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Cecilia Bartoli, Carla Fracci, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti.

Teatro del Piccolo
Via Rovello 2, 20121 Milan

“Arlecchino servo di due padroni” – Teatro Del Piccolo [Photo credits: Diego Ciminaghi]

“Arlecchino servo di due padroni” – Teatro Del Piccolo [Photo credits: Diego Ciminaghi]

The Piccolo Teatro of Milan, composed of three different stages (the Sala Grassi, the Studio Melato Theatre, the Strehler Theatre), is the first Italian permanent theatre. It was founded by Paolo Grassi, Giorgio Strehler, Mario Apollonio, Virgilio Tosi and Nina Vinchi, with the intention of creating in one of the major Italian cities, “[ …] a public service that is born for the public, [ … ], giving it back its true ancient essence and its vast functions.” Born in 1947 on the ashes of the former cinema Broletto of via Rovello, it is famous throughout the world for the play written by Goldoni “Harlequin Servant of Two Masters”, staged by actor and director Giorgio Strehler for the European tour of the Piccolo. Today, the structure is accompanied also by the Academy of Dramatic Arts, directed by Luca Ronconi, which has trained many of the most important actors in the Italian theatre panorama.

Teatro Manzoni
Via Manzoni 42, 20121 Milan

Teatro Manzoni Milano

Teatro Manzoni Milano

The Teatro Manzoni in Milan was founded in 1850 with the name of Teatro Sociale di Milano by seven eminent Milanese citizens (Luigi Rivelli, Luigi Cusani, Alessandro Melzi, Apollinare Rocca Saporiti, Leopoldo Pullè, Carlo Cereda and Antonio Mazzorin), which was then changed in honour of the writer Alessandro Manzoni, who died in 1873. It was the first theatre in Europe to be electrically illuminated from a central power station and it is endowed with an elegant curtain of heavy red velvet drapes with golden trim. To be remembered are the historical interpretations of Eleonora Duse and the Futurist company “Simultanina” of Marinetti. Due to the Second World War, Teatro Manzoni remained closed until 1950, when it would be inaugurated once again with the show of the American National Ballet Theatre. In more recent times are certainly worthy of mention the performances by artists of international fame, such as Alberto Lionello and Eduardo De Filippo. In 1978 the management of this Milanese arena passed to the Fininvest Group initiating the period of major productions and programming of famous names known to the public at large.

Teatro Arcimboldi
Viale dell’Innovazione 20, 20126 Milan

Teatro degli Arcimboldi [Photo credits: Lorenza Daverio]

Teatro degli Arcimboldi [Photo credits: Lorenza Daverio]

The Arcimboldi is the youngest stage in Milan. Inaugurated in 2002 with La Traviata conducted by Riccardo Muti, it was part of the programme of urban renewal of the industrial zone of Bicocca. It was built by the Municipality of Milan in collaboration with Pirelli and designed by the architectural studio Gregotti. Born as a substitute for the Teatro della Scala, the Teatro degli Arcimboldi has continued  its fervent activity over the years, especially in the field of music, musicals and ballet, hosting artists of international renown (such as Woody Allen, Sting, Lucio Dalla, Peter Greenaway, Roberto Bolle, Joan Baez). Also open for performances of quality entertainment, starting from the season 2007/2008, the theatre has also been hosting the television program Zelig.

Where to sleep in Milan