Notes from the past and music for the future

By - Lanfranco Li Cauli - The great stories, sooner or later, are destined to cross paths.

La Scala Theatre, with its over 240 years of artistic seasons, and Gruppo Cimbali, with over 100 years of business success, met in 2016 thanks to the “Madame Butterfly – the rediscovered East” exhibition at the Museo Teatrale alla Scala to mark the return of Puccini’s famous opera to open the 2016/17 season, which was also sponsored by Gruppo Cimbali. The two institutions are united by shared values, such as tradition and innovation, technology and internationalism, values in which we recognized ourselves.

A common purpose that has become a kind of ritual: in the following year, the unmistakable LaCimbali coffee machines were the stars of the Gala Dinner on the Opening Night on 7th December 2017, featuring the Andrea Chénier opera, while a major new partnership is already planned for 2019 with support for the “On the stages of the Scala – Milan stories” exhibition. Both of these museums preserve stories that are precious and curious in equal measure. Both focus on projects in which tradition encounters modernity and innovation and in which the value of the past is revived through today’s technologies. Because today it is more important than ever to rediscover our past in order to foster visions of the future and awareness about the present. While our stages are imbued with music and passion, Mumac’s waves emanate the scent of coffee from days gone by, when the break was a social ritual for sharing and finding oneself, including in front of silent machines.

Permeated by these common characteristics, two brands recognized nationally and internationally for their strength, authority, reliability and standing have come together, united by a desire to spread the values of Italian culture worldwide.

It has resulted in a project, rather than a duet, of international status, which is nonetheless strongly rooted in the local area, in particular due to the synergies created through MUMAC, the espresso machine museum, a symbol of culture and design. In this space, at its historical headquarters in Binasco, La Scala was present with a concert by students from its Academy (perfectly in line with the work of the Mumac Academy, the centre for coffee culture training and promotion) and with the live screening of Opening Night performances on 7th December (Andrea Chénier in 2017 and Attila in 2018) as part of the “Prima Diffusa” project, with the introduction of a specialist musicologist. All the bars in La Scala are also equipped with LaCimbali coffee machines, serving outstanding Italian coffee to an audience made up of over 450,000 spectators per year.

Thus, embracing the vital values that unite us, we convey overall harmony of intent, telling our story and stories in a virtuous union between tradition and innovation.


Lanfranco Li Cauli is Marketing and Fundraising Director at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy, since 2016. He is responsible for the audience development strategies and the relationship with Partners and Sponsors. Until 2015, he had performed the same duties at Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Italy.