On this day in theatre history–August 3, 1778–the great “La Scala” opera house first opened its doors in Milan, Italy. Designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, the facility held over 3,000 spectators with one of the largest stages in Italy. As was common in those days, Italian opera houses were multi-purpose facilities, providing a wide range of entertainments. One of the more popular elements included in many opera houses of the day was a casino. Before, after, and even during the performance on stage, audience members could slip out to the foyer and gamble. Of course, the word “casino” was also an 18th century Italian euphemism for bordello, adding even greater dimension to the structure’s purpose. Thus, the great “La Scala,” opera house, gambling den, and bordello, opened its doors on this very day in theatre history. Honestly, who knew opera could be so much fun?
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- Today in Theatre History: JEFFERSON’S RIP ON BROADWAY–December 24, 1860
- Today in Theatre History: BEFORE POOH, MILNE HIT THE DOVER ROAD–December 23, 1921
- Today in Theatre History: WHY ACTING WITH ANIMALS IS A BAD IDEA–December 22, 1907
- Today in Theatre History: THEATRE WINS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION–October 17, 1777.
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