Before La Scala, a tradition officially inaugurated by Maria Callas
Also this year, like every year, on December 7, a tradition that is rooted in the city of Milan will be repeated, a tradition that has been repeated since 1940, this time with the opera Boris Godunov. We are inevitably talking about the “Prima”, the “première of La Scala” as it is commonly called, which marks the beginning of the opera season of the Milanese theatre. It was officially set for December 7, the feast of Sant’Ambrogio patron of Milan, by Victor de Sabata, one of the greatest orchestra conductors ever, in 1951, but it had already been like this since 1940; before, however, it was held on December 26th.
That of the premiere of La Scala is a tradition of the Milanese and beyond. Indeed, the Teatro alla Scala is the most important and well-known theater in the world, with an international audience that comes every year for the premiere but also throughout the season for the operas, concerts and ballets. It is considered one of the temples of opera, the dream of every opera singer and every conductor who hopes to tread that famous stage at least once in their life; La Scala, which decrees the success of singers and musicians, which has seen and heard the most beautiful voices of the last centuries, from Callas to Tebaldi, from Giuseppe di Stefano to Tito Schipa, from Luciano Pavarotti to contemporaries Luca Salsi or Vittorio Grigolo.
And it was Maria Callas who in 1951 inaugurated the official première on 7 December, the first of the premières as it was defined, with “I vespri siciliani” by Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Victor de Sabata, thus obtaining her first Milanese triumph.
The premiere of La Scala is also famous for the guests and their clothes
In recent years, Milan has often been compared to the new large European cities, due to its appearance, its new skyline and desire for the future, and perhaps there is no easier comparison between the Milanese and the other citizens of European cities, such as London, Paris or Berlin. Open, welcoming and inclusive cities and people, but firmly anchored in traditions. And December 7 is the maximum expression of the Milanese tradition, like a great solemn moment, a royal parade, the “Prima della Scala” is the event par excellence in Milan.
And it is inevitable that every important moment requires a particular look, and for this reason the looks of the premieres have become famous, both of the ladies of La Scala who never miss the premiere, but also of international stars, from politics, from the economy who participated , at least once.
Maria Callas, between mink and radishes
Absolutely impossible to mention all of them and so many who have left their mark over time, first of all Maria Callas, in 1951 the first woman on the stage, as well as in 1954 and 1955, just to name a few, but in 1960 she was among the most photographed women of the evening; upon her arrival, on the arm of the Greek shipowner and her great of her love of her Aristotle Onassis, she wears a candid dress made for her by her trusted seamstress Biki, with a small mink cape on her shoulders. Only a few years earlier, on the stage of a premiere, the short-sighted Diva had mistaken radishes thrown by a Tebaldi fan for flowers, which she picked up with enormous grace and a huge smile, only after recognizing them by smell.