As I write, Cecilia Bartoli is rehearsing with Daniel Barenboim and the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra in the Milanese theatre. Tomorrow marks her comeback to the theatre after an absence of nearly 20 years. Although riding high on the success of her new disc Mission (over 10 million copies already sold, and Christmas sales are likely to be strong) she must nevertheless have some apprehension about how tomorrow's concert will be received.
There will certainly be a strong contingent of fans – the online tickets were sold out in minutes – however the main body of the audience are season ticket holders who didn't choose to hear Bartoli, and the Milanese audience can be famously harsh.
Bartoli is bringing a programme of her greatest hits, such as Handel's Lascia la spina, though by including Mozart's Exultate, jubilate and Rossini's Non più mesta from Cenerentola, she's certainly not taking the easy route either. Gramilano will be reporting back tomorrow…
Illustration of Cecilia Bartoli as Norma by Carlo Orlandi. She is dressed as Giuditta Pasta in the famous painting which hangs in Teatro alla Scala's museum.
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.