Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), painted here by Arturo Rietti, came to La Scala in 1887
as a cellist for the première of Verdi’s Otello.
Four years later he returned as conductor for four exciting concerts. Then in 1898, he was called in to open the season with Wagner’s “The Master-Singers of
Nuremberg”. The Museum’s archive contains a sketch by Carlo Ferrario of Toscanini’s famous La Scala début. He was the orchestra conductor who, in the
first 30 years of the twentieth century, made an absolutely serious mark on productions at La Scala and on the reorganisation of theatre life.
Anti-monarchist, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi, he moved to the United States in 1937 primarily to be a symphonic conductor. The legendary maestro, famous for
his grumpy stubbornness, severity and scant willingness to compromise, was a promoter in Italy not only of Italian opera, but also of Wagner and German
His appearance ushered in a new era of great modern conductors, demanding of both performers and audiences, faithful to the written score and pivotal in almost
every way to the entire performance.
In 1946 after his voluntary exile to the US, he returned to post-war La Scala to popular acclaim, with a famous concert for the rebuilding after bombardments had destroyed the roof of the