It seems that no production arrives before the public these days without a slight Covid hitch. I Capuleti e i Montecchi at La Scala saw the conductor Evelino Pidò withdraw during rehearsals “for motives linked to the health emergency” a week before the dress rehearsal, which was with an audience. Speranza Scappucci, who was due to debut at the theatre in a series of concerts in May, was free to take over.
The opera opens tomorrow, 18 January, Bellini's opera, with Lisette Oropesa, Marianne Crebassa, Jinxu Xiahou, Michele Pertusi and Jongmin Park. It also marks the directorial debut at La Scala of Adrian Noble. Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi hasn't been staged at La Scala since 1987.
The 48-year-old conductor from Rome trained at the Julliard School in New York and the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She said, “I jumped on this horse at full gallop with that pinch of madness that is needed in these situations.”
She conducted the opera nine years ago in the USA, albeit in a reduced form. “This was an emergency, and the speed at which it all happened was crazy. I suddenly found myself in the theatre with everyone in front of me, from the artists to the technicians, and they all did everything they could to make my job easy. They made me feel at home right away, which increased my sense of responsibility but also my energy and my desire to do the best I could.”
Dominque Meyer, La Scala's director, said, “We've been jumping through these hoops for weeks. We have to accept a new logic, without fear or hysteria, just working day by day, with medical bulletins in hand and rapidly changing the rehearsal schedules. For example, Ludovic Tézier's illness has been confirmed and he will not be able to sing in Massenet'sThaïs [due to open on 10 February]. All the workers at La Scala are showing great love for the theatre during this time, and the public is with us, as the box office shows.”
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.