Teatro alla Scala’s new streaming service is here, and it almost beats watching from the nosebleed seats.
On Valentine’s Day 2023, the renowned Milan opera house debuted its first live show on the global platform LaScalaTv. Giuseppe Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, conducted by Fabio Luisi and starring Marina Rebeka, was chosen to usher in the new digital era.
LaScalaTv allows anyone, anywhere to watch performances as they happen (for a fee). Users can also rent and rewatch previously aired shows and access in-depth spinoff and archival content, all from a distance.
Though the platform looks poised to expand La Scala’s reach, one high point in the season will remain curtained off. ANSA previously reported that the opera house will honor its long-running and exclusive collaboration with Italian public broadcaster Rai, which traditionally airs the opening night of each new season on December 7 (feast day of Ambrose, patron saint of Milan).
How it works
In addition to live operas, ballets and concerts, LaScalaTv features a catalog of pre-recorded titles and documentaries from past seasons.
Using the service requires only an Internet-connected device, such as a streaming media player, Smart TV, smartphone or tablet. LaScalaTv is compatible with both Windows PC and Mac computers.
The streaming service not only allows users to sidestep time zone issues, but also has a range of subtitles available. Live broadcasts will generally offer English, Italian, French, Spanish and German, while the back catalog will have a range of options, depending on what subtitles were generated during the initial recording phase. Users can navigate the platform itself — the show descriptions, calendar, FAQ and instructions, and all website landing pages — in English and in Italian.
Access and costs
Registration to the portal is free and takes only a minute, requiring an email address, name and country of residence. An activation link is sent to the provided email address, unlocking all live and on-demand content.
The range of live streaming and post-show rental fees is somewhat comparable to one-off film rentals on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and similar platforms, with live sessions priced on the higher end than on-demand options. Fees vary depending on the specific shows, performers and the video quality selected (Ultra High Definition or High Definition). Users can expect to pay between €5 and €7 for on-demand operas and ballets and €10 to €12 for live broadcasts. For concerts, recitals and children’s performances, costs hover between €3 and €5 for on-demand items and €5 to €7 for live shows.
Currently no subscription option is available — titles can only be rented individually.
Initiatives and upcoming highlights
A pilot educational program with various Italian schools — about 200 have already been contacted, according to the official website — is planned, in collaboration with the Milan-based nonprofit Fondazione Cariplo. Resources include didactic materials, videos and guided workshops, many with the involvement of Mario Acampa, a presenter on several children- and teen-geared Italian television programs.
Upcoming highlights in the general calendar include Le Corsaire, a ballet in three acts (March 1, 8pm CET); La Scala Philharmonic performing Haydn Symphony No. 104 (March 10, 8pm) and Eun Sun Kim conducting Franco Zeffirelli’s staging of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, to mark the centenary of Zeffirelli’s birth (March 14, 8pm).
See the full 2023 program here.