Opera is the grandest of art forms. Part of the thrill of attending a performance is to sit in a glorious theater built just for that purpose, knowing that the greatest voices of the past and present have been heard there. The most important of these theaters—in Milan, Vienna, London, Paris, Barcelona, and New York—have a distinctive character and history that has profoundly affected the evolution of opera.
Opera expert Fred Plotkin examines these fabled houses, focusing on what makes each of them unique and significant. Using audio and video recordings and illustrations, he evokes the glamour and fascination that surround them, the cities that built them, and the legendary artists who performed on their stages.
Plotkin, author of Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, lectures for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the New York Philharmonic.
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
If any opera house is first among equals, it is the magical La Scala. It is every singer’s dream to appear there and every opera lover’s dream to hear a performance there. Other theaters may be more attractive or more opulent, and today there are other venues where performances of equal quality can be heard. Yet La Scala is far and away the most important theater in Italy, the nation that invented opera. More works that are part of the world’s standard repertory had their premieres here than anywhere else, and the singers, directors, and conductors who have been part of La Scala’s legendary productions are a roster of opera’s greatest.
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