Teatro alla Scala, built where the ancient Church of Santa Maria alla Scala once stood, is a sacred institution for the people of Milan. Since 1940, the city’s most affluent come together on 7 December to inaugurate the theatre’s new season with a gala concert. A temple of Italian opera, the stage of La Scala has hosted the talent of historic classical composers, such as Gioacchino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi, as well as extraordinary directors, starting with Toscanini. But it was after World War II that the glamorous star system came to this corner of the city. It was then that the season of great directors began, such as Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli, but also great voices, such as that of Renata Tebaldi, Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. But above them all was “La Divina”. When she debuted in 1950 at La Scala, it seemed that nobody really noticed her voice, perhaps too unusual, too original. But just twelve months later, Maria Callas made her breakthrough with the opera I Vespri Siciliani. It was a veritable triumph. She became so famous that a specific spot on the stage was named for her, thus called the “Punto Callas” ("Callas Point"), from which the famed soprano radiated her unforgettable voice to every corner of the theatre.