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Feb
2016
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What Katie Did in Milan: Summer Nights at Teatro Alla Scala

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You might be surprised to hear that eating wasn’t the only thing that we did in Milan. As we were treating the trip as a sort of ‘European Honeymoon’ we tried to do things that we probably would only do once in our lives. Doing something luxurious in this stylish city was a given and we settled on a night of opera at the iconic Teatro Alla Scala. The season had only just begun and it seemed perfect that the production that was on while we were there was Puccini’s Tosca.

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We purchased ridiculously expensive tickets from the theatre’s website and ended up in an opulent box with an incredible view of the stage. The theatre is steeped in history and I felt as though we had wandered into a 19th century Russian novel where the rich and glamorous would conduct elicit affairs in private boxes when the lights were dim.

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Can’t you just imagine what would go on in these boxes?

I felt a little bit sorry for some of these patrons because the angle of the boxes on the side of the theatre means that they would have had a pretty obscured view of the stage.

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Each box had three rows of paired seats, each slightly higher than those in front. We were very lucky that the third couple in our box didn’t turn up so we were able to lean against the back wall for some support. The gorgeously decorated padded red velvet walls I should say….

The machine in our box that supplied English subtitles was broken and my limited proficiency in Italian meant that I was limited to understanding the occasional

Allhora!

or

Andiamo!

or the far less polite

STRONZO!

Still, with a basic understanding of the plot, the swelling of the music was enough to tell us what was going on in this romantic opera. We were both captivated and so glad that of all the things to do in Milan, this had been the thing we had splurged on. The prohibitive cost means that we will probably never go again but, if you can wrangle some tickets, this experience is absolutely incredible.

If you are looking to buy tickets, these are the best pieces of advice I can give you:

1. Spend some time getting familiar with the website – it can be tricky to navigate and tickets for desirable shows will sell out quickly so you want to be ready to go when your desired show becomes available

2. If you can afford it, try for a box as close to the royal box as possible and try to steer clear of the ones on the side of the theatre as you will have a partially (or mostly) obstructed view of the stage

3. Again, if you can afford it, buy tickets for the front or middle of your box. I’m not sure that the people behind us (had they turned up) would have seen much at all

4. Read up on the show that you are seeing so that you don’t get too lost

5. Enjoy the people watching! There were some amazing, glamorous outfits and some crazy, quirky ones but the people watching was almost as much fun as the show itself! Feel free to glam yourself up too. I brought a special little black dress just for wearing to the opera and I felt a little bit ‘Holly Golightly’ attending a fancy party!

 

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