Last night saw the dress rehearsal of La Scala's new production of Die Walküre for the traditional opening of its season on the feast day of Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, the 7th December.
The dress was without the first act as both Waltraud Meier (Sieglinde) and Simon O'Neill (Siegmund) are having vocal problems which, according to Daniel Barenboim, is due to the Milanese weather.
Meier also has much to say about the director Guy Cassiers who is using many video and light effects:
There is nothing new about using video projections in opera – she says remembering a celebrated version of Tristan und Isolde by Patrice Chéreau in 2007 – but Chéreau comes from the theatre, whereas Cassiers from the visual arts. Today there is a tendency to create beautiful stage pictures and effects, but perhaps obscuring the core of the opera with elements which have nothing to do with it. In this way we lose the real sense of the work, ignoring the psychology of the characters and their inter-reactions… and that what interested Wagner.”
On the 4th the preview performance for “young people” will go ahead as planned, with all three acts!
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.