Planners who handle the many moving parts it takes to execute a large-scale meeting should appreciate the group effort
that’s required to stage an opera.
Doing so involves hundreds of people, from production and
costume designers to the world’s most gifted musicians, all
working together to create a theater experience starring some of
the most glorious music ever written.
Meanwhile, the hosts of opera performances are some of the
most beautiful venues in the world.
The following lineup of seven heavenly opera houses that
accommodate group functions will have your attendees raising
their glasses and singing along to La Traviata’s famous drinking
song, or brindisi, which means “toast” in Italian.
La Scala, Milan, Italy
The world’s most famous opera house is the stunning La Scala,
which has celebrated the art form for over two centuries.
“Entering La Scala is like breathing the air of the history of
music, the same air that Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, Pavarotti, Maria
Callas, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Luchino Visconti
and many others have breathed before,” said Alberto Luchetti,
who works in the venue’s marketing and fundraising department.
Luchetti described La Scala as a “living art machine,” where
the most brilliant artists working today perform for visiting
“This is really unique—it is always history in the making,” he
said. “These are the emotions that we can offer in this legendary
place, and having the chance to enjoy this absolute excellence
with your group is an extraordinary privilege.”
Groups can book great seats in advance for live performanc-
es, which are at the center of corporate events here. Upcoming
operas include Verdi’s Nabucco and Handel’s Tamerlane.
Groups may also arrange a pre-curtain guided backstage
tour, a cocktail reception during intermission in the on-site
museum, which showcases La Scala memorabilia, and a dinner
after the performance in the Toscanini Foyer.
“On special occasions, artists can be invited as special guests
to the dinner,” Luchetti said, adding that playbills signed by
opera stars and customized merchandising from La Scala Shop,
as well as company branding on playbills, are all possibilities.
“When we do not have a performance in the main hall, it is
possible to organize special chamber concerts—usually voice
and piano—in the foyers or in the museum, in partnership with
the best pupils of our academia.”
Civic Opera House, Chicago
Chicago’s historic Civic Opera House, a hybrid of Art Nouveau
and Art Deco designs, is among the world’s most gorgeous
Built in 1929, the home to Lyric Opera of Chicago offers “a
majestic setting for entertaining on any scale,” according to
Eleanor Sanchez, presentation and events coordinator.
“Dinners onstage at the Civic Opera House are incredibly
unique,” she said. “Guests can listen to an aria before watching
the backdrop rise to reveal their banquet on stage. We have
beautiful in-house chandeliers that can be lowered over the
RENEE FLEMING, THE
MERRY WIDOW, LYRIC
OPERA OF CHICAGO
BY CAROLYN BLACKBURN
Opera houses set the stage for special
events to sing home about
LA SCALA, MILAN, ITALY