Jonas Kaufmann says that La Scala and Santa Cecilia are the only two important music centres left in Italy,
Too many theatres have closed in the last few years; a real shame.
Which theatres he's thinking about isn't clear, for although many (of the many) Italian opera houses are having financial troubles, none of major houses have closed.
Kaufmann gave an interview to the Corriere della Sera on the eve of his triumphant Winterreise at La Scala. Giuseppina Manin asked him about the new sovrintendente,
I know Pereira well. I've worked alongside him for ten years at the Zurich Opera and then Salzburg. He's already been in contact about our next projects together. The only official one is a Verdi Requiem in 2015, and also an opera.
Manin asked if it were true that he would be in the Cavalleria-Pagliacci which will open the 2015 season, and if the successful Salzburg production of Don Carlo with him and Pappano would also be brought to La Scala?
I think I'd better leave it to Pereira to make any announcements. I can tell you that with Pappano at Santa Cecilia we will record a Puccini album in September.
What will change at La Scala with Pereira?
He loves tradition. In Germany, where the most extreme productions are to be found, he is considered a conservative. I think that he's the right person for La Scala.
He says that he's afraid of the heckling from the gallery,
I'm not. I like an audience that expresses an opinion, and knows what it likes. It would be terrible if everyone applauded always and for anything. Conformity is sad. But the opposite is also true, when the boos and whistling become the norm.
Kaufmann distances himself from the opera directors who want to see themselves at the centre of the production. The ideal director?
Above all, Giorgio Strehler, with whom I worked for that Così fan tutte which opened his new Piccolo Teatro, but he died before the opening night. His obsessive attention to detail, and the honesty of the characterisation where intentions were never forced, yet he also had faith in his interpreters and their imagination… For me, at the beginning of my career, it was an essential lesson of what a director should be.
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.