Italians upset by La Scala’s decision to kick off season with German composer Wagner and not local hero Verdi – News – Classical – The Independent
Richard Wagner‘s Lohengrin kicks off La Scala‘s season on Friday with the renowned Milanese theatre under fire for choosing the German maestro over local hero Giuseppe Verdi on the biggest night of the year for the world of opera.
With opera lovers around the globe preparing to celebrate the 200th birthday of both composers, born a few months apart in 1813, La Scala has been accused of being unpatriotic at a time when Italy battles a recession some blame on austerity policies driven by Germany.
“La Scala puts Verdi in a corner, preferring the German,” wrote il Giornale newspaper owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi‘s family and known for its vitriolic attacks on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Corriere della Sera said there was unease in the orchestra pit over the choice of Wagner in Verdi’s musical home and talked of “a blow to national pride in a moment of crisis.”
La Scala general manager Stephane Lissner, a Frenchman, has dismissed the controversy as ridiculous.
“There are more serious problems than this Wagner-Verdi derby,” he told reporters this week, pointing out that the theatre will stage six works by Wagner against eight by Verdi in the 2012/13 season.