The Milan Expo opens its doors to the world on 1 May 2015, and the plan was that La Scala too would be open for a Turandot under the baton of Riccardo Chailly However the unions have stated that the theatre's staff should not be expected to work on the workers' holiday… though I bet hotel workers will be looking after guests, and restaurants with will be welcoming diners. Theatre workers – according to Gramilano – know that they have to work when others are out of the office, otherwise theatres would be empty, wouldn't they?
It's not as though they will not be rewarded for their efforts. The technical and administrative staff would receive double pay, and the orchestra and chorus 140% extra. However, the Cgil, one of the biggest unions, are not having it, even though almost 95% of the musicians have signed a petition saying that they are in favour of performing.
Now the government has intervened, with the Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini, saying,
Seeing the importance of the event and the international attention it will receive, it seems important that the theatre is open on 1 May: we need to find the right balance for all the parties involved.
It is something we have addressed many times and with success with the unions of the Cultural Heritage Department. For several years now, Italian museums have remained opened on public holidays, and it seems to me that also in this case it is important for La Scala to be open for this prima.
There is time until 31 January for the unions to give their final answer.
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.