Cecilia Bartoli has waded into the murky waters of the Rome Opera crisis. Although she hasn't sung in the theatre for years, it is her hometown, and where she started her career.
We must find a solution, that's obvious, but the solution isn't to fire the chorus and orchestra and keep the management. What will the management do if there is no one left to manage?
No [artist] should be fired, but there needs to be a fresh start with competent people at the artistic helm, and not politicians as has been the norm in the past. The problem of mismanagement at the Rome Opera has been going on for years.
If they have found a solution for La Scala then they can find one for Rome. La Scala has a solid basis which allows it to go ahead with its season's programming, and seems to be working. Something must be done in Rome; the theatre can't just be left to die. I hope it emerges from its current state.
She also flew her Muti colours:
You can't let a Maestro like Riccardo Muti get away. It's very serious. They should have done everything to keep him. It was a great opportunity for the theatre to have Muti – someone whom I adore – and they must do everything necessary to get him back.
Often the problem with theatres like the Rome Opera, is that they rarely have full houses and so ticket sales make up a small percentage of the operating budget. Bartoli knows the answer to that one:
There is a need to work in and with the schools. I dream about music returning to the schools, and being able to bring the students to the theatre: young people, even toddlers. Music needs to start at that age to have a chance, and that's the difference between Italy and abroad.
Would she be willing to take on such a challenge in Italy? She explained to ANSA that there wasn't much opportunity in Italy just now, and that her commitment to Salzburg's Whitsun Festival allowed her to continue with her career, whereas directing a theatre would be too limiting. However, if an offer arrived from her homeland?
I'd think about it… we'll see.
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.