E. O. Wilson
Edward Osborne Wilson cited as E. O. Wilson, is an American biologist, theorist and author, his biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he has been called the world's leading expert. Wilson has been called "the father of sociobiology" and "the father of biodiversity", for his environmental advocacy, his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. Among his greatest contributions to ecological theory is the theory of island biogeography, which he developed in collaboration with the mathematical ecologist Robert MacArthur, the foundation of the development of conservation area design, as well as the unified neutral theory of biodiversity of Stephen Hubbell. Wilson is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, a lecturer at Duke University, a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, he is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.
He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and a New York Times bestselling author for The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, The Meaning of Human Existence. Wilson was born in Alabama. According to his autobiography Naturalist, he grew up around Washington, D. C. and in the countryside around Alabama. From an early age, he was interested in natural history, his parents and Inez Wilson, divorced when he was seven. The young naturalist grew up in several cities and towns, moving around with his father and his stepmother. In the same year that his parents divorced, Wilson blinded himself in one eye in a fishing accident, he suffered for hours. He did not complain, he did not seek medical treatment. Several months his right pupil clouded over with a cataract, he was admitted to Pensacola Hospital to have the lens removed. Wilson writes, in his autobiography, that the "surgery was a terrifying century ordeal". Wilson was left with full sight in his left eye, with a vision of 20/10.
The 20/10 vision prompted him to focus on "little things": "I noticed butterflies and ants more than other kids did, took an interest in them automatically."Although he had lost his stereoscopic vision, he could still see fine print and the hairs on the bodies of small insects. His reduced ability to observe mammals and birds led him to concentrate on insects. At nine, Wilson undertook his first expeditions at the Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, he began to collect insects and he gained a passion for butterflies. He would capture them using nets made with brooms, coat hangers, cheesecloth bags. Going on these expeditions led to Wilson's fascination with ants, he describes in his autobiography how one day he pulled the bark of a rotting tree away and discovered citronella ants underneath. The worker ants he found were "short, brilliant yellow, emitted a strong lemony odor". Wilson said the event left a "vivid and lasting impression on ", he earned the Eagle Scout award and served as Nature Director of his Boy Scout summer camp.
At the age of 18, intent on becoming an entomologist, he began by collecting flies, but the shortage of insect pins caused by World War II caused him to switch to ants, which could be stored in vials. With the encouragement of Marion R. Smith, a myrmecologist from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wilson began a survey of all the ants of Alabama; this study led him to report the first colony of fire ants near the port of Mobile. Concerned that he might not be able to afford to go to a university, Wilson tried to enlist in the United States Army, he planned to earn U. S. government financial support for his education, but failed the Army medical examination due to his impaired eyesight. Wilson was able to afford to enroll in the University of Alabama after all, earning his B. S. and M. S. degrees in biology there in 1950. In 1952 he transferred to Harvard University. Appointed to the Harvard Society of Fellows, he could travel on overseas expeditions, collecting ant species of Cuba and Mexico and travel the South Pacific, including Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and Sri Lanka.
In 1955, he received his Ph. D. and married Irene Kelley. From 1956 until 1996 Wilson was part of the faculty of Harvard, he began as an ant taxonomist and worked on understanding their evolution, how they developed into new species by escaping environmental disadvantages and moving into new habitats. He developed a theory of the "taxon cycle". Just after completing is PhD in 1955, Wilson started supervising Stuart A. Altmann on the social behavior of rhesus macaques, which gave Wilson a first impetus to imagine sociobiology as a global theory of animal social behavior, he collaborated with mathematician William Bossert, discovered the chemical nature of ant communication, via pheromones. In the 1960s he collaborated with ecologist Robert MacArthur. Together, they tested the theory of species equilibrium on a tiny island in the Florida Keys, he observed the re-population by new species. A book The Theory of Island Biogeography about this experiment became a standard ecology text. In 1971, he published the book The Insect Societies about the biology of social insects like ants, bees and termites.
In 1973, Wilson was appointed'Curator of Insects' at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1975, he published the book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis applying his theories of insect behavior to vertebrates, in the last chapter, humans, he speculated that evolved and inherited tendencies were responsible for hierarc
Teatro della Pergola
The Teatro della Pergola is a historic opera house in Florence, Italy. It is located in the centre of the city on the Via della Pergola, from which the theatre takes its name, it was built in 1656 under the patronage of Cardinal Gian Carlo de' Medici to designs by the architect Ferdinando Tacca, son of the sculptor Pietro Tacca. The opera house, the first to be built with superposed tiers of boxes rather than raked semi-circular seating in the Roman fashion, is considered to be the oldest in Italy, having occupied the same site for more than 350 years, it has two auditoria, the Sala Grande, with 1,500 seats, the Saloncino, a former ballroom located upstairs, used as a recital hall since 1804 and which seats 400. Work on completing the interior was finished in 1661, in time for the celebration of the wedding of the future grand duke Cosimo III de' Medici, with the court spectacle Ercole in Tebe by Giovanni Antonio Boretti. A court theatre used by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, it was only after 1718 that it was opened to the public.
In this theatre the great operas of Mozart were heard for the first time in Italy, Donizetti’s Parisina and Rosmonda d'Inghilterra, Verdi’s Macbeth and Mascagni’s I Rantzau were given their premiere productions. By the nineteenth century, La Pergola was performing operas of the best-known composers of the day including Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi. Verdi's Macbeth was given its premiere performance at the Pergola in 1847; the Pergola's present appearance dates from an 1855-57 remodelling. It seats 1,000, it has been restored at least twice since. Today the theatre presents a broad range of about 250 drama performances each year, ranging from Molière to Neil Simon. Opera is only presented there during the annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Notes Sources Lynn, Karyl Charna, Italian Opera Houses and Festivals, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2005. ISBN 0-8108-5359-0 Plantamura, The Opera Lover's Guide to Europe, New York: Citadel Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8065-1842-1 Teatro della Pergola's official website Includes interior photograph "Amici della Musica" organize classical concerts on Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon, at Teatro della Pergola
Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning little wheel. In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number, various groupings of numbers, the colors red or black, whether the number is odd or or if the numbers are high or low. To determine the winning number and color, a croupier spins a wheel in one direction spins a ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track running around the outer edge of the wheel; the ball loses momentum, passes through an area of deflectors, falls onto the wheel and into one of 37 or 38 colored and numbered pockets on the wheel. The first form of roulette was devised in 18th century France. Many historians believe Blaise Pascal introduced a primitive form of roulette in the 17th century in his search for a perpetual motion machine; the roulette mechanism is a hybrid of a gaming wheel invented in the Italian game Biribi. The game has been played in its present form since as early as 1796 in Paris. An early description of the roulette game in its current form is found in a French novel La Roulette, ou le Jour by Jaques Lablee, which describes a roulette wheel in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796.
The description included the house pockets, "There are two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives its sole mathematical advantage." It goes on to describe the layout with, "...two betting spaces containing the bank's two numbers and double zero". The book was published in 1801. An earlier reference to a game of this name was published in regulations for New France in 1758, which banned the games of "dice, hoca and roulette"; the roulette wheels used in the casinos of Paris in the late 1790s had red for the single zero and black for the double zero. To avoid confusion, the color green was selected for the zeros in roulette wheels starting in the 1800s. In 1843, in the German spa casino town of Bad Homburg, fellow Frenchmen François and Louis Blanc introduced the single 0 style roulette wheel in order to compete against other casinos offering the traditional wheel with single and double zero house pockets. In some forms of early American roulette wheels, there were numbers 1 through 28, plus a single zero, a double zero, an American Eagle.
The Eagle slot, a symbol of American liberty, was a house slot that brought the casino extra edge. Soon, the tradition vanished and since the wheel features only numbered slots. According to Hoyle "the single 0, the double 0, eagle are never bars. In the 19th century, roulette spread all over Europe and the US, becoming one of the most famous and most popular casino games; when the German government abolished gambling in the 1860s, the Blanc family moved to the last legal remaining casino operation in Europe at Monte Carlo, where they established a gambling mecca for the elite of Europe. It was here that the single zero roulette wheel became the premier game, over the years was exported around the world, except in the United States where the double zero wheel had remained dominant. In the United States, the French double zero wheel made its way up the Mississippi from New Orleans, westward, it was here, because of rampant cheating by both operators and gamblers, that the wheel was placed on top of the table to prevent devices being hidden in the table or wheel, the betting layout was simplified.
This evolved into the American-style roulette game. The American game was developed in the gambling dens across the new territories where makeshift games had been set up, whereas the French game evolved with style and leisure in Monte Carlo. During the first part of the 20th century, the only casino towns of note were Monte Carlo with the traditional single zero French wheel, Las Vegas with the American double zero wheel. In the 1970s, casinos began to flourish around the world. By 2008, there were several hundred casinos worldwide offering roulette games; the double zero wheel is found in the U. S. Canada, South America, the Caribbean, while the single zero wheel is predominant elsewhere. In 2016, The Venetian Las Vegas introduced the first triple-zero wheel, which has since spread to a few additional casinos; the sum of all the numbers on the roulette wheel is 666, the "Number of the Beast". Roulette players have a variety of betting options. Placing inside bets is either selecting the exact number of the pocket the ball will land in, or a small range of pockets based on their proximity on the layout.
Players wishing to bet on the'outside' will select bets on larger positional groupings of pockets, the pocket color, or whether the winning number is odd or even. The payout odds for each type of bet are based on its probability; the roulette table imposes minimum and maximum bets, these rules apply separately for all of a player's inside and outside bets for each spin. For inside bets at roulette tables, some casinos may use separate roulette table chips of various colors to distinguish players at the table. Players can continue to place bets as the ball spins around the wheel until the dealer announces no more bets or rien ne va plus; when a winning number and color is determined by the roulette wheel, the dealer will place a marker known as a dolly, on that winning number on the roulette table layout. When the dolly is on the table, no players may place bets, collect bets, or remove any bets from the table; the dealer will sweep away all other l
Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte was an English talent agent, theatrical impresario and hotelier during the latter half of the Victorian era. He built two of London's theatres and a hotel empire, while establishing an opera company that ran continuously for over a hundred years and a management agency representing some of the most important artists of the day. Carte started his career working for his father, Richard Carte, in the music publishing and musical instrument manufacturing business; as a young man he conducted and composed music, but he soon turned to promoting the entertainment careers of others through his management agency. Carte believed that a school of wholesome, well-crafted, family-friendly, English comic opera could be as popular as the risqué French works dominating the London musical stage in the 1870s. To that end he brought together the dramatist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan and nurtured their collaboration on a series of thirteen Savoy operas, he founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and built the state-of-the-art Savoy Theatre to host the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
Eight years after opening the Savoy Theatre, Carte built the Savoy Hotel next to it, acquired other luxury hotels. In 1891 he erected the Palace Theatre, which he intended to be the home of a new school of English grand opera, but this ambition was not realised beyond the production of a single work by Sullivan, Ivanhoe, his partnership with Gilbert and Sullivan, his careful management of their operas and relationship, created a series of works whose success was unprecedented in the history of musical theatre. His opera company run by his widow Helen and by his son and granddaughter, promoted those works for more than a century, they are still performed today. Carte was born at his parent's house in Greek Street, Soho, in the West End of London on 3 May 1844, his father, Richard Carte, was a flautist, his mother was the former Eliza Jones. Carte was of Welsh and Norman ancestry. To supplement his income as a performer, Carte's father joined the firm of Rudall, Rose & Co. musical instrument makers and music publishers, in 1850.
After he became a partner in the business, it changed its name to Rudall, Carte and Co. and to Rudall, Carte & Co. The family moved away from Soho, he was brought up in their large detached house in Dartmouth Park in north London. His cultured mother exposed her family to art and poetry, young Carte studied the violin and the flute at an early age; the family spoke French at home two days a week, his parents took their children to the theatre. He was educated at University College School from 1856 to 1860. In January 1861, he achieved First Class level in the matriculation examination for University College London, but did not take up the place; as the name Richard Carte was by now well known in, beyond, the musical profession, Carte dropped the use of his own first name and styled himself "D'Oyly Carte" or, more formally, "R. D'Oyly Carte." He studied music during this time and composed some pieces, which he dedicated to the actress Kate Terry. He acted in amateur theatricals. Between 1868 and 1877, Carte wrote and published the music for several of his own songs and instrumental works, as well as three short comic operas: Doctor Ambrosias – His Secret and Happy Hampstead.
On tour in 1871 he conducted Cox and Box by Arthur Sullivan and F. C. Burnand, in tandem with English adaptations of two one-act pieces by Offenbach, The Rose of Auvergne and Breaking the Spell, in which Carte's client Selina Dolaro starred. Carte's musical talent would be helpful in his career, as he was able to audition singers himself from the piano. During the late 1860s and early 1870s, from within his father's firm in Charing Cross and, by late 1874, from a nearby address in Craig's Court, Carte began to build an operatic and lecture management agency, his two hundred clients included Charles Gounod, Jacques Offenbach, Adelina Patti, Clara Schumann, Antoinette Sterling, Edward Lloyd, Mr. and Mrs. German Reed, George Grossmith, Matthew Arnold, James McNeill Whistler and Oscar Wilde. Hesketh Pearson said of Carte: "His acute business sense was aided by a frank and agreeable manner: he could not only see where money was to be made but how to make it, he took what other people thought were risks, but he felt were certainties....
He knew everyone worth knowing... and his practical judgement was as sure as his sense of artistry." In 1874, Carte leased the Opera Comique, a theatre off the Strand, where he presented Charles Lecocq's new opéra bouffe Giroflé-Girofla, given in French by the company who had premiered the work three months earlier in Brussels. It did poor box-office business, had to be closed after two weeks, he followed it with a modest success, The Broken Branch, an English adaptation of Gaston Serpette's La branche cassée. Carte announced his ambitions on the front of the programme for the latter: "It is my desire to establish in London a permanent abode for light Opera." The Observer commented, "Mr D'Oyly Carte is not only a skilful manager, but a trained musician, he appears to have grasped the fact that the public are beginning to become weary of what is known as a genuine opéra bouffe, are ready to welcome a musical entertainment of a higher order, su
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev referred to outside Russia as Serge Diaghilev, was a Russian art critic, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise. Sergei Diaghilev was born to a cultured family in Selishchi, Russia. After the death of Sergei's mother, his father married Elena Valerianovna Panaeva, an artistic young woman, on affectionate terms with her stepson and was a strong influence on him; the family had an apartment in Saint Petersburg and a country estate in Bikbarda. In 1890, Sergei's parents went bankrupt, having for a long time lived beyond their means, from that time Sergei had to support the family. After graduating from Perm gymnasium in 1890, he went to the capital to study law at St. Petersburg University, but ended up taking classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music, where he studied singing and music. After graduating in 1892 he abandoned his dreams of composition. During his years at University, Diaghilev's cousin Dmitry Filosofov introduced him to a circle of art-loving friends who called themselves The Nevsky Pickwickians.
They included Alexandre Benois, Walter Nouvel, Konstantin Somov, Léon Bakst. Although not received into the group, Diaghilev was aided by Benois in developing his knowledge of Russian and Western art. In two years, he had voraciously absorbed this new obsession and came to be respected as one of the most learned of the group. With financial backing from Savva Mamontov and Princess Maria Tenisheva, the group founded the journal Mir iskusstva. In 1899, Diaghilev became special assistant to Prince Sergei Mikhaylovich Volkonsky, who had taken over directorship of all Imperial theaters. Diaghilev was soon responsible for the production of the Annual of the Imperial Theaters in 1900, promptly offered assignments to his close friends: Léon Bakst would design costumes for the French play Le Coeur de la Marquise, while Benois was given the opportunity to produce Alexander Taneyev's opera Cupid's Revenge. In 1900–1901 Volkonsky entrusted Diaghilev with the staging of Léo Delibes' ballet Sylvia, a favorite of Benois.
The two collaborators concocted an elaborate production plan that startled the established personnel of the Imperial Theatres. After several antagonistic differences of opinion, Diaghilev in his demonstrative manner refused to go on editing the Annual of the Imperial Theatres and was discharged by Volkonsky in 1901 and left disgraced in the eyes of the nobility. At the same time, some of Diaghilev's researchers hinted at his homosexuality as the main cause for this conflict. However, his homosexuality had been well known long before he was invited into the Imperial Theatres. In 1905 he organized a huge exhibition of Russian portrait painting at the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg, having travelled through Russia for a year discovering many unknown masterpieces of Russian portrait art. In the following year he took a major exhibition of Russian art to the Petit Palais in Paris, it was the beginning of a long involvement with France. In 1907 he presented five concerts of Russian music in Paris, in 1908 mounted a production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, starring Feodor Chaliapin, at the Paris Opéra.
This led to an invitation to return the following year with ballet as well as opera, thus to the launching of his famous Ballets Russes. The company included the best young Russian dancers, among them Anna Pavlova, Adolph Bolm, Vaslav Nijinsky, Tamara Karsavina and Vera Karalli, their first night on 19 May 1909 was a sensation. During these years Diaghilev's stagings included several compositions by the late Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, such as the operas The Maid of Pskov, May Night, The Golden Cockerel, his balletic adaptation of the orchestral suite Sheherazade, staged in 1910, drew the ire of the composer's widow, Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova, who protested in open letters to Diaghilev published in the periodical Rech. Diaghilev commissioned ballet music from composers such as Nikolai Tcherepnin, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, Manuel de Falla, Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev, his choreographer Michel Fokine adapted the music for ballet. Diaghilev worked with dancer and ballet master Léonide Massine.
The artistic director for the Ballets Russes was Léon Bakst. Together they developed a more complicated form of ballet with show-elements intended to appeal to the general public, rather than the aristocracy; the exotic appeal of the Ballets Russes had an effect on Fauvist painters and the nascent Art Deco style. Coco Chanel is said to have stated that "Diaghilev invented Russia for foreigners.". Diaghilev's most notable composer-collaborator, was Igor Stravinsky. Diaghilev heard Stravinsky's early orchestral works Fireworks
New wave music
New wave is a genre of rock music popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock. New wave moved away from blues and rock and roll sounds to create rock music or pop music that incorporated disco and electronic music. New wave was similar to punk rock, before becoming a distinct genre, it subsequently engendered fusions, including synth-pop. New wave differs from other movements with ties to first-wave punk as it displays characteristics common to pop music, rather than the more "artsy" post-punk. Although it incorporates much of the original punk rock sound and ethos, new wave exhibits greater complexity in both music and lyrics. Common characteristics of new wave music include the use of synthesizers and electronic productions, a distinctive visual style featured in music videos and fashion. New wave has been called one of the definitive genres of the 1980s, after it was promoted by MTV; the popularity of several new wave artists is attributed to their exposure on the channel.
In the mid-1980s, differences between new wave and other music genres began to blur. New wave has enjoyed resurgences since the 1990s, after a rising "nostalgia" for several new wave-influenced artists. Subsequently, the genre influenced other genres. During the 2000s, a number of acts, such as the Strokes, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers explored new wave and post-punk influences; these acts were sometimes labeled "new wave of new wave". The catch-all nature of new wave music has been a source of much controversy; the 1985 discography Who's New Wave in Music listed artists in over 130 separate categories. The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock calls the term "virtually meaningless", while AllMusic mentions "stylistic diversity". New wave first emerged as a rock genre in the early 1970s, used by critics including Nick Kent and Dave Marsh to classify such New York-based groups as the Velvet Underground and New York Dolls, it gained currency beginning in 1976 when it appeared in UK punk fanzines such as Sniffin' Glue and newsagent music weeklies such as Melody Maker and New Musical Express.
In November 1976 Caroline Coon used Malcolm McLaren's term "new wave" to designate music by bands not punk, but related to the same musical scene. The term was used in that sense by music journalist Charles Shaar Murray in his comments about the Boomtown Rats. For a period of time in 1976 and 1977, the terms new wave and punk were somewhat interchangeable. By the end of 1977, "new wave" had replaced "punk" as the definition for new underground music in the UK. In the United States, Sire Records chairman Seymour Stein, believing that the term "punk" would mean poor sales for Sire's acts who had played the club CBGB, launched a "Don't Call It Punk" campaign designed to replace the term with "new wave"; as radio consultants in the United States had advised their clients that punk rock was a fad, they settled on the term "new wave". Like the filmmakers of the French new wave movement, its new artists were anti-corporate and experimental. At first, most U. S. writers used the term "new wave" for British punk acts.
Starting in December 1976, The New York Rocker, suspicious of the term "punk", became the first American journal to enthusiastically use the term starting with British acts appropriating it to acts associated with the CBGB scene. Part of what attracted Stein and others to new wave was the music's stripped back style and upbeat tempos, which they viewed as a much needed return to the energetic rush of rock and roll and 1960s rock that had dwindled in the 1970s with the ascendance of overblown progressive rock and stadium spectacles. Music historian Vernon Joynson claimed that new wave emerged in the UK in late 1976, when many bands began disassociating themselves from punk. Music that followed the anarchic garage band ethos of the Sex Pistols was distinguished as "punk", while music that tended toward experimentation, lyrical complexity or more polished production, came to be categorized as "new wave". In the U. S. the first new wavers were the not-so-punk acts associated with the New York club CBGB.
CBGB owner Hilly Kristal, referring to the first show of the band Television at his club in March 1974, said, "I think of that as the beginning of new wave." Furthermore, many artists who would have been classified as punk were termed new wave. A 1977 Phonogram Records compilation album of the same name features US artists including the Dead Boys, Talking Heads and the Runaways. New wave is much more tied to punk, came and went more in the United Kingdom than in the United States. At the time punk began, it was a major phenomenon in the United Kingdom and a minor one in the United States, thus when new wave acts started getting noticed in America, punk meant little to the mainstream audience and it was common for rock clubs and discos to play British dance mixes and videos between live sets by American guitar acts. Post-punk music developments in the UK were considered unique cultural events. By the early 1980s, British journalists had abandoned the term "new wave" in favor of subgenre terms such as "synthpop".
By 1983, the term of choice for the US music industry had become "new music", while to the majority of US fans it was still a "new wave" reacting to album-based rock. New wave died out in the mid-1980s, knocked out by guitar-driven rock reacting against new wave. In the 21st-century United States, "new wave" was used to describe ar
La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala; the premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta. Most of Italy's greatest operatic artists, many of the finest singers from around the world, have appeared at La Scala; the theatre is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra. The theatre has an associate school, known as the La Scala Theatre Academy, which offers professional training in music, stage craft and stage management. La Scala's season opens on Saint Ambrose's Day, the feast day of Milan's patron saint. All performances must end before midnight, long operas start earlier in the evening when necessary; the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, accessible from the theatre's foyer and a part of the house, contains a collection of paintings, statues and other documents regarding La Scala's and opera history in general.
La Scala hosts the Accademia d'Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo. Its goal is to train a new generation of young musicians, technical staff, dancers. A fire destroyed the previous theatre, the Teatro Regio Ducale, on 25 February 1776, after a carnival gala. A group of ninety wealthy Milanese, who owned private boxes in the theatre, wrote to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este asking for a new theatre and a provisional one to be used while completing the new one; the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini produced an initial design but it was rejected by Count Firmian. A second plan was accepted in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa; the new theatre was built on the former location of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, from which the theatre gets its name. The church was deconsecrated and demolished and, over a period of two years, the theatre was completed by Pietro Marliani, Pietro Nosetti and Antonio and Giuseppe Fe; the theatre had a total of "3,000 or so" seats organized into 678 pit-stalls, arranged in six tiers of boxes above, the'loggione' or two galleries.
Its stage is one of the largest in Italy. Building expenses were covered by the sale of boxes, which were lavishly decorated by their owners, impressing observers such as Stendhal. La Scala soon became the preeminent meeting place for wealthy Milanese people. In the tradition of the times, the main floor had no chairs and spectators watched the shows standing up; the orchestra was in full sight. Above the boxes, La Scala has a gallery—called the loggione—where the less wealthy can watch the performances; the gallery is crowded with the most critical opera aficionados, known as the loggionisti, who can be ecstatic or merciless towards singers' perceived successes or failures. For their failures, artists receive a "baptism of fire" from these aficionados, fiascos are long remembered. For example, in 2006, tenor Roberto Alagna was booed off the stage during a performance of Aida; this forced his understudy, Antonello Palombi, to replace him mid-scene without time to change into a costume. As with most of the theatres at that time, La Scala was a casino, with gamblers sitting in the foyer.
Conditions in the auditorium, could be frustrating for the opera lover, as Mary Shelley discovered in September 1840: At the Opera they were giving Otto Nicolai's Templario. As is well known, the theatre of La Scala serves, not only as the universal drawing-room for all the society of Milan, but every sort of trading transaction, from horse-dealing to stock-jobbing, is carried on in the pit. La Scala was illuminated with 84 oil lamps mounted on the stage and another thousand in the rest of theatre. To prevent the risks of fire, several rooms were filled with hundreds of water buckets. In time, oil lamps were replaced by gas lamps, these in turn were replaced by electric lights in 1883; the original structure was renovated in 1907. In 1943, during World War II, La Scala was damaged by bombing, it was rebuilt and reopened on 11 May 1946, with a memorable concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini—twice La Scala's principal conductor and an associate of the composers Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini—with a soprano solo by Renata Tebaldi, which created a sensation.
La Scala hosted the first productions of many famous operas, had a special relationship with Verdi. For several years, Verdi did not allow his work to be played here, as some of his music had been modified by the orchestra; this dispute originated in a disagreement over the production of his Giovanna d'Arco in 1845. The premiere of his last opera, Falstaff was given in the theatre. In 1982, the Filarmonica della Scala was established, drawing its members from the larger pool of musicians that comprise the Orchestra della Scala; the theatre underwent a major renovation from early 2002 to late 2004. The theatre closed following the traditional 7 December 2001 se