The Teatro Regio Ducal (Italian, "Royal Ducal Theatre") was the opera house in Milan from 26 December 1717 until 25 February 1776, when it was burned down following a carnival gala. Many famous composers and their operas are associated with it, including the premieres of Mozart's Ascanio in Alba, Mitridate, re di Ponto, and Lucio Silla. Variant forms such as Regio-Ducal Teatro and Teatro Regio Ducale are also seen.
The atmosphere in opera houses at the time was very sociable and congenial, and the Teatro Regio Ducal was no exception. The English traveller and music writer Charles Burney describes its faro tables for gambling, and gives this description:
The theatre here is very large and splendid; it has five rows of boxes on each side, one hundred in each row; and parallel to these runs a broad gallery ... as an avenue to every row of boxes: each box will contain six persons, who sit at the sides, facing each other. Across the gallery of communications is a complete room to every box, with a fireplace in it, and all conveniences for refreshments and cards. In the fourth row is a pharo table, on each side of the house, which is used during the performance of the opera.
After the destruction of the Teatro Regio Ducal, which had been a wing of the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), two new theatres were commissioned to be built near the site, both designed by Giuseppe Piermarini. The Nuovo Regio Ducal Teatro alla Scala (with variant forms of its name), the present-day La Scala, was inaugurated on 3 August 1778. The Teatro alla Canobbiana, now called the Teatro Lirico, was inaugurated on 21 August 1779.
- Sadie and Zaslaw, pp. 214–215.
- Sadie S., and Zaslaw, N., Mozart: The Early Years 1756-1781, OUP, 2006 ISBN 0-19-816529-3
- Colussi, P., 2002, 'Palazzo Reale dagli Spagnoli ai Savoia', Storia di Milano. (Accessed 27 January 2009)
- Fondazione Giorgio Gaber, Press Release: "Nasce a Milano il Teatro Lirico Giorgio Gaber", April 19, 2007. (Accessed 27 January 2009)