The Teatro alla Scala was built as a replacement of the old Teatro Ducale in 1776 by order of the empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and was inaugurated in 1778 with Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta. It owes its name to the place where it was built, by the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini: the site of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala. Unlike in theatres abroad, the season of La Scala does not begin in September, but on 7 December, the feast of St Ambrose, patron saint of Milan. This helps to give extra symbolic meaning to the première. With this musical offering, thanks to the rebuilding and modernisation of the scenic machinery undertaken between 2001 and 2004, La Scala is on a level with the greatest theatres of Europe and the world, carrying out the idea of a quality theatre that aims at a synthesis between the theatre of “seasons” and that of “repertory.