Teatro alla Scala is one of the main opera houses of the world and the leading Italian theatre.
Built in 1776-78 by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (whose country then ruled Milan), it replaced an earlier theatre that had burned. In 1872 it became the property of the city of Milan. The house was closed during World War I. In 1920 the conductor Arturo Toscanini led a council that raised money to reopen it, organizing it as an autonomous corporation. Bombed during World War II, the theatre reopened in 1946 with a concert conducted by Toscanini. In late 2001 La Scala closed for extensive renovations. Mario Botta served as the architect of the project, and the theatre reopened in December 2004 with a performance of Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta, which had been performed at La Scala’s opening on August 3, 1778.
La Scala has a varied repertoire which includes contemporary works as well as traditional favourites. Associated with the theatre is an academy with numerous courses that prepare professionals, including a dance school and a singing school. The Theatre’s Sovrintendente and Artistic Director is Dominique Meyer. The Music Director is Riccardo Chailly.