Milan's La Scala may be closed, but the theatre's Digital Department is still working hard.
Five weeks ago, Dominique Meyer, the theatre's new intendant, started a series of interviews with artists who work in the theatre. The musical director, Riccardo Chailly, was his first ‘guest', and since then he has talked to the director Davide Livermore, principal dancers Nicoletta Manni and Timofej Andrijashenko, the conductor Michele Mariotti, and singers Luca Salsi, Rosa Feola, Michele Pertusi and Ambrogio Maestri. They are all available on the theatre's Facebook page.
However, the interviews were in Italian and live-streamed, so subtitles were not available. Realising that this was excluding a vast number of opera and ballet enthusiasts from enjoying these encounters, Silvia Farina, head of the web and social media team, thought to use an English voiceover to widen the audience. Geolocation means that everyone outside Italy must watch the interviews with the English voice over, and no one in Italy can choose to hear the translation, but then Facebook isn't perfect.
Last week, Roberto Bolle was the first interviewee to have two versions put out, and this week saw Juan Diego Flórez taking questions. The interviews are around half-an-hour long, and the links to see the videos outside Italy are:
The tour en l'air with principal dancer Claudio Coviello (with English subtitles)
Opera jobs: The Répétiteur (with English subtitles)
Friday 29 May at 2pm: Dominique Meyer talks to Alessandra Ferri (live with English translation)
Saturday 30 May at 12pm: Fouettés with Nicoletta Manni (with English subtitles)
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.