On the night between 15th and 16th August 1943, the Theatre suffered considerable damage during air raids carried out by the Royal Air Force.

Reconstruction began with an unusual concert amidst the wreckage, the orchestra seated in front of the curtain and the audience on ordinary chairs. The Teatro alla Scala was rapidly rebuilt and on 11th May 1946 it reopened in all its original splendour with a memorable concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

Toscanini is indeed responsible for many innovations of a musical, managerial and structural nature: he insisted on the creation of an orchestra pit (also known as the “mystic gulf” covering an area of 110m2), as well as the introduction of dimmed lights in the auditorium during performances, a new type of curtain, and the banning of encores.