After struggling via the coronavirus pandemic’s devastation and lockdowns within the Italian area of Lombardy, La Scala is making a comeback: It is opening its doorways in Milan to a reside viewers — capped at 500 individuals, sitting within the balconies and loges — for the primary time since October.
On Monday, the music director Riccardo Chailly leads the home orchestra and choir in a program of Wagner, Verdi, Purcell and extra, that includes Lise Davidsen, a rising star soprano. On Tuesday night, Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic will probably be in Milan to perform works by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann, commemorating the 75th anniversary of La Scala’s reopening after World War II, which featured a legendary live performance beneath Arturo Toscanini.
Also arising are streaming performances of a ballet program that includes work by eight choreographers (Saturday) and Rossini’s “L’italiana in Algeri” (May 25) in a revival of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s traditional staging.
All that is going down beneath the management of Dominique Meyer, who started his tenure as inventive director and chief government of La Scala in March 2020 whereas wrapping up almost a decade as normal director of the Vienna State Opera.
La Scala had been mendacity low in current months, presenting occasional performances for streaming whereas Mr. Meyer and his workers overhauled the infrastructure to turn out to be each extra digitally superior and extra ecologically sustainable.
This 12 months, the home’s funds decreased to an accredited 86 million euros, about $104 million, from €133 million in 2019. But it has achieved a document excessive in non-public funding, not too long ago bringing aboard the Armani Group and the grocery store chain Esselunga as new sponsors.
Meanwhile, the theater has proceeded with intensive building plans. A high-rise constructing designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta, budgeted at €17 million and scheduled to open in two years across the nook from La Scala, will embody administrative workplaces and a rehearsal room that doubles as a recording studio. The theater can also be increasing its academy right into a college with its personal campus, relocating its set and costume workshops, and modernizing its space for storing; all these tasks are anticipated to be full in 5 years.
In addition, Mr. Meyer has been growing outreach plans. “I am probably in my last position,” Mr. Meyer, a 65-year-old native of France’s Alsace area, stated in a video interview from his workplace in Milan. “I have 33 or 34 seasons behind me. Now is the time to invest my experience in this theater and work with the young generation of La Scala on the future of this house.”
The following dialog, carried out in German, has been translated, edited and condensed.
Is it a problem to carry conventional homes just like the Vienna State Opera and La Scala into the 21st century?
I don’t see it that means. The drawback for a lot of opera homes is that they are often fairly self-referential. But individuals stay very trustworthy.
In Vienna, we put in a streaming system and tablets with subtitles. I used to be closely criticized on the time. Now, one is joyful to broadcast an opera each night throughout this era.
This summer season, we are going to set up cameras not simply within the auditorium however within the foyers as a result of performances additionally happen there. I didn’t do that in Vienna and really a lot regretted it. We wish to stream the entire program: operas, ballets and lots of live shows.
Tell us extra about your first season at La Scala.
You can’t come to a home like La Scala and criticize the whole lot. If you do, then you’re the international physique.
The very first thing we needed to do was a form of screening or X-ray of the home. The second was to mobilize the younger [employees].
It turned out that we had progress to make with regard to the executive use of computer systems. After a 12 months of Covid, I had, in actual fact, seen that some issues don’t work — that payments or salaries had been paid too late. And so these completely different issues made it attainable to make reforms at a quick tempo.
A disaster generally provides the chance to do issues new and in a different way. We may have empty seats, and so I wish to do one thing for households right here, so that folks can carry their youngsters to the entrance rows of the theater for €15.
Northern Italy was, after all, hit very laborious throughout the first wave of the pandemic. Was it tough to make the proper choices beneath these situations?
Yes and no. I’ve a variety of understanding for politicians as a result of I used to work for the French authorities. When one is on the steering wheel, it isn’t straightforward. So I perceive when errors are made.
What I didn’t like is that everybody wished to be higher than their neighbor. And so a state of affairs emerged the place the foundations are so completely different: There should not two international locations the place quarantine has the identical length.
The virus is similar, so why isn’t it attainable to create an affordable means of working collectively? Some individuals give themselves an air of significance as a result of they’ve one of the best situations. Later on, issues will look completely different.