Purchasing opera tickets in Italy can be an overwhelming task, but for Milan’s prestigious opera house La Scala, it can be even more confusing. First, if you are planning your trip far in advance, you may be thrown by the list of shows without any available tickets! But, not to worry, this is La Scala’s standard operating procedure. Due to its high demand as one of the most famous opera houses in the world, it leaves the first choice of seats to those who purchase an abbonamento, or a season subscription. The general public will only have access to individual tickets 60 days from the first performance in each series. For example, if you want to see “Un ballo in maschera” on July 25th, the tickets will be on sale May 9th, which is two months prior to the opera’s opening night of July 9th.
The question burning in your mind is probably, where should I sit? At theaters like La Fenice or the Teatro dell’Opera, with enough notice you will have several sections to choose from. At La Scala, though, you may be left without much of a choice after the abbonati, or season subscribers, have had their chance to purchase tickets. The less expensive seats are the first to go (and they sell out quickly!) so you may find only the platea, or main floor, and the palchi, or box seats, are still available. If La Scala is on your must-see list, be prepared to budget extra for the experience.
If you must sit in the gallery (the first section to sell out), your best chance for a seat is to contact Select Italy’s Chicago office on the day tickets go on sale. We can check the live availability and let you know what your options are. If you are prepared to accept seats that aren’t together, your chances for a seat outside the main floor and boxes will go up.
If you splurge for box seats, take note that there are only two front seats in each box. Unlike the Teatro dell’Opera, the seats within the boxes are numbered, so you won’t have to worry about getting to the theater extra early, but if you have a large group you will need to be spread out among several boxes. While there are rear seats available in the boxes, Select Italy does not normally sell these as they can be considered “low visibility” or “listening only.” If this isn’t an issue for you, please contact us and we can give you the pricing.
If the opera is sold out or the price is out of your reach, consider a performance at the Serate Musicali. The tickets won’t break the bank (tickets range from $19-$36 each) and the musical quality is impeccable. The Milanese have been enjoying this gem for the past 40 years, so when in Milan, do as the Milanese would do!