Before conducting the National Anthem and the ‘Die Walküre’ overture, Daniel Barenboim took up a microphone and, addressing himself to the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, said:
I’m very happy, once again, to be conducting on the 7th December at La Scala. [7th December, feast day of Saint Ambrose, patron saint of Milan and the traditional opening of the La Scala season] I am greatly honoured to have been named maestro scaligero and I speak with that title, but also in the names of all my colleagues who play, sing, dance and work not only in this magnificent theatre but in all Italian theatres, to tell you how much we are worried about the future of culture in this country and Europe. If you will allow me, I would like us to remember Article 9 of the Constitution: the Italian Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research, and safeguards the country’s historical and artistic heritage. Thank you.”
Great applause from the audience greeted his remarks, also from the President and Milan’s mayor Letizia Moratti.