A few days before each premiere La Scala presents an introductory talk, in Italian, about the upcoming production.
These talks are held in the “Arturo Toscanini” foyer at 6 pm. Admission is free and you don’t need a ticket to get in, you just have to be one of the first 250 people to arrive at the main entrance of La Scala. When I was there the foyer wasn’t quite full, so they didn’t have to turn anybody away.
Unfortunately, the talk I attended happened to be on my first evening in Milan, shortly after I got off the train, so my Italian listening comprehension was still somewhat rusty. I understood some of the more obvious points (things I already knew about Verdi’s opera Macbeth), but missed most of the subtleties. And when people laughed, I never knew what they were laughing about.
The speaker at Prima delle Prime was Antonio Rostangno from the University La Sapienza in Rome.
Around the edges of the Foyer Arturo Toscanini there are several busts of famous opera composers. This one shows Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), best known as the composer of Cavalleria Rusticana.
My photos in this post are from 2008. I revised the text in 2018.
Next: Getting tickets for La Scala.