The Musical Historical Archive of La Scala

The Musical Historical Archive of La Scala

From 1778 the Scala Music Archive accumulated such a wealth of musical materials that, already in 1814, Giovanni Ricordi (who also worked at La Scala as a prompter) made an agreement with La Scala to secure the task of copying the orchestral materials and singing of the Theatre, which were published in the first Ricordi catalogue.

In 1825 Giovanni Ricordi managed to acquire ownership of the entire Musical Archive of the Teatro alla Scala, which was added to the Grand Catalog of the same year.

In 1839 La Scala, for 1,600 Lire, also sold Giovanni Ricordi the first opera by G. Verdi "Oberto Conte di San Bonifacio".

In the first years of the second half of the 20th century, the Scala Musical Archive was a container of owned or rented materials for scheduled productions, partially saved from the bombings of 1943.

They were not cataloged but arranged on shelves in alphabetical order for those owned or in random order for those rented.

At the time the copying work was entrusted to some professors of the stage musical ensemble, partially employed during the season, who created the parts from the scores reworked by the stage musical director.

Scores, scores and phonic material were present in the various offices (Artistic Direction, Choir, Dance, Sound Engineers etc.), and only with the 1977 restructuring carried out by Corrado Abriani and endorsed by Maestro Claudio Abbado, all these materials were merged into the offices of the Musical Archive and cataloged first on paper files, then with computer systems managed by the CED.

The intuition and foresight of C.A. gave the "LA" for an important innovative development of the office both with the acquisition of photocopiers and IT supports and with the training of collaborators, unifying the management of all paper materials and audio / video supports and making them accessible to users .

The music archive, in addition to containing the sound and audiovisual archive, keeps a collection of printed music materials among those used for the realization of the shows and has a library of printed music, mainly composed of scores for singing and piano , born from the need to combine, survey and make available to its users the scores received in the theater over the years following bequests, donations and purchases.

For several years, the music archive library has joined the Polo of the Lombardy Region and participates in the SBN network: data entry currently concerns the printed music volumes of the music archive library, the catalog of which is already largely available for consultation by OPAC SBN; some of the titles are rarely available and therefore particularly valuable for those who are interested in researching and studying lesser-known and no longer reprinted compositions.

The scores of the library are available for consultation, by appointment, while the loan service is reserved for internal circulation.