Parade of VIPs and 13 minutes of applause for the premiere of La Scala (and for Senator Liliana Segre)


By John

Thirteen minutes of final applause (and some very light ‘bo’ for director Lluís Pasqual) concluded Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Don Carlò directed by Maestro Riccardo Chailly and starring Francesco Meli in the title role and Anna Netrebko in that of Elizabeth of Valois , which opened this evening opera season 2023/24 of the La Scala Theater in Milan. In the absence of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the senator for life sat in the front row in the royal box Liliana Segre welcomed by applause upon entering the stage, with the mayor of Milan Beppe Sala with his partner and the president of the Senate Ignazio La Russa with his wife next to her. Behind them were the ministers Matteo Salvini, Maria Elisabetta Casellati and Gennaro Sangiuliano, and the president of the Region Attilio Fontana. Before the start of the opera, the superintendent of La Scala, Dominique Meyer Meyer recalled the recognition of the practice of opera singing in Italy among the intangible heritage of UNESCO. “For 400 years, opera has been a fantastic vehicle for making the Italian language and culture known throughout the world – said Meyer -. I know this well because I learned a little Italian by reproducing phrases from opera librettos” . Then Mameli’s anthem with the entire audience standing at the end of which the cry ‘Long live anti-fascist Italy’ was heard.

As usual, many people were present at the Piermarini to follow the inauguration of the new opera season at La Scala, including the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, the French actor Louis Garrel, both at their first time at the ‘Primà, the singers Patti Smith and Ornella Vanoni. There was no shortage of loyalists such as the Mediaset president Fedele Confalonieri, the life senator Mario Monti, the former president of the Milan Juvenile Court Livia Pomodoro, the president of Confindustria Carlo Bonomi, the former minister Corrado Passera. Also in the audience were the stars Roberto Bolle and Nicoletta Manni with her husband, also a dancer, Timofej Andrijashenko and Corrado Augias. Contrary to the unwritten rule, some women showed up dressed in red to give a signal in the fight against violence against women. ‘Don Carlò, broadcast live on Raiuno, deals with the theme of personal and political freedom against the oppression of religious and state absolutism and completes the triptych of reflections on power already addressed with ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Boris Godunov’. Staged at La Scala for the first time in 1868, it was repeated several times at the Piermarini where it was directed by Arturo Toscanini, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti and Myung-Whun Chung. Lluís Pasqual is directing this latest production.