La Scala's Chief Executive, Alexander Pereira, saw his proposal for the theatre's 2016-2017 season rejected yesterday by the Lombardy Region, one of the founding members of the Scala Foundation. Francesco Micheli, a long-time board member and opera specialist, abstained during the vote to approve the programming.
The Regional Minister for Culture, Cristina Cappellini, said that the Lombardy Region objected to too many expensive productions being brought in from other opera houses; these are often theatres that Pereira headed before taking over in Milan. This reignites the 2014 outcry when Pereira presented his first season at La Scala, with seven titles coming from Salzburg where he was still ensconced at the time. Productions for opera and ballet were also brought in from Zurich, the opera house he headed for more than a decade until 2012. Two years ago, Pereira justified his decision by saying:
I could sell my productions to other theatres for more money. La Scala has got a bargain.
The atmosphere at the meeting was described as “tense”.
Last year, for the Milan Expo, La Scala increased the number of titles in its season to allow for the anticipated increase in the number of visitors to the city, extending its programming throughout the summer when the theatre is traditionally closed. The Board of Directors expressed its concern over the number of titles being offered during the upcoming season, (fifteen, which equals that of the Expo season), doubting that the theatre would be able to fill so many seats.
The two new productions which will open the opera and ballet seasons are Madama Butterfly and Coppélia. There will also be Stephan Herheim's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg from Zurich and an Anna Bolena from Bordeaux. In the first three months after the opening of the season, all the productions will be brought in from abroad except for a revival of La traviata.
The full season will be presented to the press on 18 May.
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.
Chi vive in Lombardia paga le tasse per questioni più importanti, come pagare le vacanze dei Presidenti della Regione o altro… 🙁
Well, after all we attended some major productions at La Scala lately, I mean world premieres like “Cinderella” or “Il giardino degli amanti” 😉
Graham, the way you’ve written this sounds (at least to someone not thoroughly familiar with La Scala’s governance) like the Lombardy Region, through Cappellini, has blocked Pereira’s programming for the season and that he’s going to have to redo it.
While you didn’t say it outright, it reads as if the Lombardy culture minister has a veto or could withhold funding. (I think the word “rejected” is what does it.)
That’s certainly the way I understood it when I first saw your article.
But, based on what I can read of the reports in Corriere della sera and il Giornale, it sounds like, while this is not a good sign for Pereira, his season is going ahead – merely with disapproval from the regional culture minister.
Can you confirm?
Yes, the season will go ahead as planned. The Lombardy Region rejected the programme but they don’t have a veto (it was approved by the majority). Thanks… it was ambiguous!