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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Open air screenings for La Scala
La Scala
La Scala is one of Milan's biggest tourists spots
Plans for a giant screen to relay opera and ballet into the centre of Milan are being put in place to counteract the effects of the temporary closure of the La Scala opera house.

The famous 18th-Century theatre has shut down while a massive refurbishment programme is undertaken, and is not expected to reopen until 2004.

Performances are now being staged at the newly built Archimboldi theatre, which is sited in an industrial zone of the city, three miles from the city centre.

Bosses now want to place a screen outside the famed theatre in Piazza della Scala, partly to help local retailers who fear trade will be damaged by the closure of La Scala.

"This would definitely be a wonderful thing for the city and it would draw out the tourists," said theatre spokeswoman Laura Valente.

A view of the new Arcimboldi theatre
Performances are now being staged at the Arcimboldi theatre
"We're 99% sure that it will happen. I think that everything will be settled soon," she added.

It is hoped up to 3,000 spectators will be able to view performances on 30ft-high screen, transforming the piazza each night into an open air theatre

It is expected that segments of about half an hour will be shown and not full-length performances, giving audiences a flavour of the quality of La Scala.

Mosaic

Sponsors are now being sought to fund the projections, which are due to begin in December at the start for the theatre's new season.

The 2002-2003 season at the Arcimboldi theatre will feature musicals, jazz concerts, and Placido Domingo singing zarzuela, a form of operetta music popular in his native Spain.

La Scala will start the season with Iphigenie en Aulide by Christoph Gluck, on 7 December, the feast day of Milan's patron saint, Ambrose.

La Scala artistic director Paolo Arca said the new season was "a mosaic rich in creativity" and "a season of suggestions".

Most of the season will still be opera, ballet and concerts, but the La Scala company will be venturing into musicals, jazz concerts and contemporary music in July 2003.

These will include Leonard Bernstein's musical West Side Story, jazz by John Surman, Jack Dejohnette, Enrico Rava, Richard Galliano and Michel Portal, and a special concert of contemporary American music by basso Samuel Ramey.

See also:

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