Children at La Scala

"La Scala is not a theatre for old people. 1,700 children made that clear last night," reported newspaper Il Corriere della Sera in 2014.

La Cenerentola - Opera per bambiniTeatro Alla Scala

Opera for children

La Scala has a long tradition of producing children’s shows. The effort peaked in 2014, with the launch of the "Grandi Opere per piccoli" series.

Laboratorio Museo Teatro alla ScalaTeatro Alla Scala

Operas, ballets and symphonic works are readapted for children and performed by members of the Accademia della Scala. Tickets are sold for a symbolic price of €1. By 2019, 300,000 children had attended shows in the series.

Elisir d'amore - Opera per bambiniTeatro Alla Scala

A young person’s perspective
In an adaptation of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Dulcamara's gaudy entourage emerges from a yellow Milanese tram. Rossini's La Cenerentola, shortened to half the length by cutting arias and recitative, features vivid dance numbers that harness the energy of Rossini's foot-tapping rhythms. In a 2015 run, demand for tickets was so high the number of performances had to be doubled. By the end, all 17 were sold out.

Excelsior 1969 - fratelli Colla.Teatro Alla Scala

The allure of marionettes

The first children’s show in the now defunct Piccola Scala, a smaller theatre to the side of La Scala’s main stage, was the ballet Excelsior in 1968, featuring historic puppeteers Carlo Colla & Figli on marionettes.

Excelsior 1969 - fratelli Colla.Teatro Alla Scala

Pierino e il lupo 1971Teatro Alla Scala

Between 1969 and 1977, the Piccola Scala presented 70 shows for children. These included Britten's Noye's Fludde, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals.

Il carnevale degli animali 1972Teatro Alla Scala

Weird and wonderful worlds

In 1986, the theatre established “La Scala per i bambini”, a dedicated music season for children. Highlights included Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood and Britten’s A Midsummer Night's Dream in a version featuring marionettes.

Babar 1975Teatro Alla Scala

Poulenc's L'Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant, was extended from 20-minutes-long to forty-five. Weird and wonderful soundworlds were coaxed from watering cans, coffee machines, calculators, water tubs, rubber tubes and steam irons.

Laboratorio Museo Teatro alla ScalaTeatro Alla Scala

Interactive music

La Scala’s full offering for young people is broad and varied. In summer camps and on “Cantiamo alla Scala” courses at the Academy, instructors guide children through ballets and operas in singing, acting, improvisation, movement, costume-making and makeup sessions. At the Teatro alla Scala Museum, educational games introduce young people to objects in the permanent collection.

Teatro alla Scala, Porte aperte ai bambiniTeatro Alla Scala

After being led into the darkened auditorium, children watch the iconic chandelier switched on to dazzling effect. In the foyer, 18th-century La Scala -- a world of parties, masked balls and even the occasional horse race -- is vividly recreated by a narrator.

Children at La Scala TheatreTeatro Alla Scala

A virtual treasure hunt

Using the Museum app, visitors explore the permanent collection by following a number of itineraries. The “Upstairs Downstairs” route is designed to take children on a virtual treasure hunt with a series of riddles and games.

Credits: Story

curated by James Imam and the Teatro alla Scala

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Dating from 1778, one of the world's oldest and most famous theaters now opens its doors to everyone
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