Despite coronavirus restrictions, La Scala will celebrate the opening of its season 2020-2021 – however long or short it may be – on 7 December, the feast of Saint Ambrose, Milan's saint's day.
The evening, A riveder le stelle (Seeing the Stars Again), will be broadcast live by Rai Cultura on Italian television's Rai 1 at 5pm, as well as Arte and other platforms. Riccardo Chailly will conduct, and the director Davide Livermore will use actors and projections to create a context for the starry cast of 24 singers together with La Scala's dancers.
La Scala presented 66 evenings of music and dance after the first lockdown, until it was obliged to close its doors again a month ago when the second wave of infections arrived. Therefore, La Scala will present the semi-staged gala without an audience. The theatre has said that “in these dramatic weeks, it will not be an evening of celebration, but an evening of hope and determination, which La Scala and RAI television will bring into the homes of Italians.”
Starting with scenes from Verdi operas the evening will continue with Donizetti, Puccini, Bizet, Massenet, Wagner and Rossini, whereas the music for the ballet will be by Tchaikovsky, Satie, Verdi and Davide Dileo. Dileo? Yes, Dileo, also known as ‘Boosta', who is an Italian rock musician.
The new director of the ballet company, Manuel Legris, will choreograph a piece called Verdi Suite, especially for the evening, as well as choreography by Rudolf Nureyev and Massimiliano Volpini.
The singers, in alphabetical order, are:
Ildar Abdrazakov, Roberto Alagna, Carlos Álvarez, Piotr Beczala, Benjamin Bernheim, Eleonora Buratto, Marianne Crebassa, Plácido Domingo, Rosa Feola, Juan Diego Flórez, Elīna Garanča, Vittorio Grigolo, Jonas Kaufmann, Aleksandra Kurzak, Francesco Meli, Camilla Nylund, Kristine Opolais, Lisette Oropesa, George Petean, Marina Rebeka, Luca Salsi, Andreas Schager, Ludovic Tézier, and Sonya Yoncheva.
Michele Gamba will conduct the dance sections, and the dancers are:
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.