Our history: a two-hundred year long road
If we wish to find the roots of Teatro alla Scala’s vocation for transmitting to the coming generations the inestimable living heritage of talent and knowledge of the La Scala masters – not just dance and opera, but also creativity and manual skills – we must go back to 1813 and the founding of the Imperial Regia Accademia di Ballo, today’s Ballet School.
The creation of the Scuola dei Cadetti della Scala in 1950, forebear of today’s distinguished Academy of Lyric Opera, and of the Course for Charge Artists in 1970, ushered in ongoing development of professional training at Teatro alla Scala.
The progressive diversification of the curriculum under the stewardship of Carlo Fontana led to the creation of the Schools, Training and Development Department in 1991 and the institution of the independent Fondazione Accademia Teatro alla Scala in 2001. Partnering with Teatro alla Scala in this initiative are the Region of Lombardy, the Milan Chamber of Commerce, Bocconi University, the Milan Polytechnic, Fondazione Bracco and the City of Milan. They are supported by a sizeable group of foundations, associations, businesses and individual patrons, as well as public institutions such as the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provides scholarships for foreign students.
The curriculum comprises four departments – Music, Dance, Stage Workshops, Management – with some thirty courses for over one thousand students from every corner of the world: approximately 500 for professional courses and 500 for beginning courses.
The teaching method provides daily field experiences in the form of concerts, performances, exhibitions and seminars, culminating in the Academy Project, a yearly feature of the Teatro alla Scala opera season produced entirely by students.
The educational activities are complemented by other proposals in various areas: the Education and Outreach Area, providing workshops and learning initiatives for students and instructors in schools of all types and levels, in order to spread knowledge of the performing arts and related professions, and the Cultural Cooperation Area, offering international research and collaboration projects promoted by the European Community or by local governments to export the La Scala model of professional training.