Women, the True Stars of Teatro alla Scala

Women, the True Stars of Teatro alla Scala
#BvlgariStories

Ballerine, “caffettiere”, beautiful and intriguing presences. They are the protagonists of the stages of Teatro alla Scala, prime-donne, actresses, divas of song who, from 1778, year of the theatre’s founding, in different ways, each with their own talents, dominated the scene of one of the world’s most celebrated places. Many of these women of culture and high society acquired, inhabited or sold the stages, making La Scala the hotspot of Milanese cultural, political and social life. Over 300 women were “owners” of the theatre - moving through this larger-than-life salon, receiving artists, musicians and intellectuals, playing the role of the Lady of the House. Among these proprietresses, Vittoria Peluso, a ballerina at La Scala known as La Pelusina, or even the Giardiniere - the female exponents of the Carboneria, a secret society - Teresa Berra and Cristina Trivulzio of Belgiojoso. Then there were the “stage-patriots” like noblewoman Giuseppina Vidiserti, born Franchetti di Ponte, and the benefactors, from Countess Teresa Opizzoni Giorgi to Carlotta Frova Francetti. For these women, going to the La Scala meant propagandising among friends and guests for their goodwill campaigns, raising funds for children, prisoners and many other charitable causes. Over the 143 years of privately owned stages, there were also a fair share of steamy romances. Among these, Countess Luisa Adele Rosa Maria Casati, wealthy heiress obsessed with occultism, friend of D’Annunzio and Man Ray, subject of various portraits by Giovanni Boldini and owner of the Venetian residence which, today, belongs to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. After her separation from her husband, Luisa adopted an unusual life-style, ending in misery in 1957 in London. There were also stage-owners who wrote music, like “the Liszt of Lombardy pianists” Cirilla Cambiasi Branca and the “caffettiere”, like Eugenia Cagnolati, the daughter of Domenico and Francesca Sassi, owners of Caffè del Teatro. Stendhal said it perfectly when he wrote, “There is a sort of aristocracy formed by two-hundred women here at La Scala.”
Samantha De Martin - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano