Fall Preview: Theater to See This Season

Shakespeare’s genre-bending productions, major repertoire comebacks and new, avant-garde productions that question the world around us.

Trajal Harrell in “Dancer of the Year.” Lorenza Daverio

The next theatrical season is as varied as any in recent memory, so trying to summarize it in a few periods is never simple or prudent. Many noteworthy theaters and, of course, the most famous opera house in the world are in Milan. The city is an unmissable destination for drama and culture devotees. The next season is an exciting new beginning for the many houses in town, there is no shortage of intriguing shows: from iconic repertoire at La Scala to original and edgy productions at the Triennale Teatro and the Piccolo Teatro. The season is packed with must-go events, and it finally resumes at full pace after two years of ups and downs. We have rounded up the most spellbinding shows of the season for all the theater lovers out there. Grab your calendar and keep reading.

Teatro Alla Scala

We cannot talk about theater without mentioning La Scala. The temple of opera is always the perfect choice for performances of the highest quality. The new season, as per tradition, will open on December 7, on the day of St. Ambrose, Milan’s patron saint. Last year was the turn of Verdi’s “Macbeth,” and this year, “Boris Godunov” by Modest Petrovic Musorgsky will be the first official show of the year. Throughout 2023 many are the must-see masterpieces and gems of the Milanese theater’s repertoire returning to the stage after several years, including Puccini’s “La Bohème” directed by the late Franco Zeffirelli, Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” as envisioned by the late director Giorgio Strehler, but also “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” and “Peter Grimes.” It is impossible to resist the ballet season, which will open this year with “The Nutcracker” – for the holiday season – and “Swan Lake,” both choreographed by the legendary Rudolf Nureyev. (Teatro Alla Scala; Piazza della Scala; 02 72 003 744; teatroallascala.org)

Triennale Teatro

Titled “Lo Sguardo sul Mondo,” the new season at the Triennale Teatro keeps the eyes on the world around us, embracing shows from different parts of the globe. The Proton Theater, one of the most intriguing companies on the European stage, is making its debut in Milan with “Winterreise,” directed by Kornél Mundruczó, a play that chronicles the existential pain of forgotten humanity. “This season is an integral part of Triennale Milano’s program,” commented Stefano Boeri, the president of Triennale Milano. “Through the work and research of artists, choreographers, directors, and musicians, it offers new perspectives and insights that are intertwined with the themes of mystery and the unknown that are at the centre of the 23rd International Exhibition.” Among the many offerings are “Au bord” by Claudine Galea, “Adagio” by the Venice Biennale Golden Lion awardee Saburo Teshigawara, “Piscina Mirabilis” by artist Michele di Stefano, and “Dancer of the Year” by the American choreographer Trajal Harrell. (Triennale Teatro; Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6; 02 7243 4258; triennale.org)

Teatro Carcano

Gender-bending productions of Shakespeare are particularly popular this season, and finally land on the stage of Teatro Carcano as well. “Othello” directed by Andrea Baracco with an all-female cast reverses the perspective on the famous tragedy. The new season at the Carcano, titled “Sarà perché #iodondolo,” presents another classic under a new vest: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a company of young actors led by Andrea Chiodi. Lella Costa and Serena Sinigaglia, the theater’s directors, also introduce special events and interactive art initiatives like “El Nost Milan” by comic Carlo Bertolazzi. “Artists must leave the theater and pay attention to the demands and anxieties of the public” commented Costa and Sinigaglia in a joint statement on the new productions. “It is essential to create communities that can identify with theater.” (Teatro Carcano; Corso di Porta Romana, 63; 02 5518 1362; teatrocarcano.com)

Teatro dal Verme

The Dal Verme Theater continues its long-lasting collaboration with the I Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra and presents an articulated and heterogeneous program that opens Milan to a vast musical panorama ranging from the classical and symphonic repertoire of Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, to the independent rock scene, from jazz to electronic music, from pop to the major expressions of international contemporary folk music. Don’t miss the Christmas concert “Strauss Family Waltzes” conducted by maestro Alessandro Bonato. (Teatro dal Verme; Via S. Giovanni sul Muro, 2; 02 87905; dalverme.org)

Teatro Filodrammatici

The Teatro Filodrammatici continues its exploration of contemporary drama with a season of new productions and returns of successful plays. Among the most anticipated events is the Milan premiere of Edward Albee’s “At Home at the Zoo.” Other noteworthy events are the 10th lgbtqia+ festival, the play “Lecite visioni,” the stand-up comedy show “The Independent Republic of Comedy,” and two initiatives dedicated to history “Storia e narrazione” and “La Storia a Processo.” A wide-ranging season accumulated only by the presence of the theater’s artistic directors (one directs and the other plays the lead) in many of the shows on the bill. (Teatro Filodrammatici; Via Filodrammatici, 1; 02 3672 7550; teatrofilodrammatici.eu)

Enrico Bonavera in “Arlecchino servitore di due padroni,” by Carlo Goldoni. Photo by Masiar Pasquali/Piccolo Teatro, Milano.

Piccolo Teatro

The new season at the Teatro Piccolo, titled “La Misura Delle Cose” (The Measure Of Things), focuses on a rich and multiform selection of possibilities to explore the relationship between life and theater and ways of understanding it. Shakespeare’s gender-bending production of “Hamlet” willreturn to the stage with Federica Rosellini in the role of the prince of Denmark, as well as “Ritratto dell’ Artista Morto” by Michele Riondino, an autobiography and fiction drama on disappearances during 20th-century dictatorships. Not to be missed: the great classic “Harlequin Servant of Two Masters” (Arlecchino servitore di due padroni), the iconic play by Carlo Goldoni, as imagined by Ferruccio Soleri, that returns to the stage 75 years after its debut. (Piccolo Teatro; Teatro Strehler, Largo Greppi 1; Teatro Studio Melato, via Rivoli; Teatro Grassi, via Rovello 2; Chiostro Nina Vinchi, Via Rovello, 2; 02 2112 6116; piccoloteatro.org)

Teatro Elfo Puccini

“Get out of home, come to theater” is the motto that accompanies the new year at the Teatro Elfo Puccini. And the rich season certainly does not encourage people to stay at home. More than fifty shows, including original productions, international tours, and debuts will hit the Elfo Puccini stage in 2023. We look forward to the drama “Come tu mi vuoi” by Luigi Pirandello, performed by Invisibile Kollettivo; “Nel Guscio” by Ian McEwan directed by Cristina Crippa; and “La febbre” by Wallace Shawn directed by Veronica Cruciani. (Teatro Elfo Puccini; Corso Buenos Aires, 33; 02 0066 0606; elfo.org)

Teatro Gerolamo

In the center of Milan, the Teatro Gerolamo offers a season full of gems and surprises. Also known as “the little Scala,” it is a magical hall whose 150 years of history have made it a real treasure. This year it wants to enchant its loyal audience once more offering a season of drama, music, puppetry, dance, and classical and jazz concerts. Among the many anticipated events of the season is “È una vita che sto qui” by Roberta Skerl. One of Milan’s most run-down public housing buildings is to undergo renovation and residents temporarily moved elsewhere. Despite the positive outlook, the elderly tenants resist; among them is Adriana, a comically cranky old Milanese woman (played by Ivana Monti). In her dilapidated apartment, surrounded by boxes, Adriana faces the challenge by recalling her history and that of a Milan that no longer exists. Around her: immigration, squatting, houses falling apart and nuisances at the door. (Teatro Gerolamo; P.za Cesare Beccaria, 8; 02 4538 8221; teatrogerolamo.it)

Teatro Franco Parenti

For its 50th anniversary, the Franco Parenti Theater turns the concept of the third age upside down calling it the “great age” highlighting all the strength and creative energy that distinguishes it while offering an opportunity to break out of stereotypical thinking. Theater evenings, meetings, performances, concerts, exhibitions and workshops planned for this season celebrate the “great age” as a source of resources and enthusiasm. Milena Vukotic is starring in “Driving Miss Daisy” in a gentle and witty play capable of humorously questioning racism in postwar America and among the many anticipated shows are “Il cacciatore di nazisti – L’avventurosa vita di Simon Wiesentha” directed by Giorgio Gallione, “Il delitto di via dell’Orsina” by Eugène-Marin Labiche, and Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, tick… BOOM,” debuting in Italy for the first time. (Teatro Franco Parenti; Via Pier Lombardo, 14; 02 5999 5206; teatrofrancoparenti.it)

Jessica Capretti is a frequent contributor to Milano Art Guide since 2021. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and has worked on several projects including “L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in Paris. She lives and works in Milan.