This state-of-the-art 21st century theater was inaugurated on January 19, 2002 with a performance of the opera La traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi, and for the next three years this was Milan’s main opera venue while the historic Teatro alla Scala was being restored and restructured.
In fact, the Teatro degli Arcimboldi Milano (TAM) was built especially for this purpose. It seats 2,400 people (more than La Scala itself) and the stage opening is 16 by 12 meters, which is exactly the same as La Scala, so as to facilitate the transfer of productions from one theater to the other.
This new theater is located in a northern district of Milan called Bicocca, where the Pirelli tire factory used to be, three quarters of an hour from La Scala by bicycle. The theater is named after the Arcimboldi family, a noble family which had its residence in this district in the fifteenth century.
When the time came, after three years, to return to La Scala in the city center, La Scala‘s Ballet Company rebelled and insisted on staying out here in Bicocca, for the simple reason that in the TAM every spectator can see the entire stage from every seat — and ballet dancers do like to be seen when they are performing.
When I was in Milan, I saw a marvelous ballet evening called Ballet Mediterranea in the TAM, based on the music and dance of several Mediterranean countries.
In addition to La Scala’s own Ballet Company, visiting ballet troupes from around the world also perform here, so the Teatro degli Arcimboldi is developing into an exciting center for modern dance with a large and enthusiastic young audience. Some of the spectators no doubt come from the new Bicocca University, which begins just across the street.
My photos in this post are from 2008. I revised the text in 2018.
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