Applause and boos at Italy's La Scala gala opening

Sun Dec 7, 2008 6:51pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - La Scala's performance of Giuseppe Verdi's "Don Carlos" drew applause but also some booing on the opening night of the opera house's new season, the highlight of the city's social and musical calendar.

The audience threw flowers on stage as the cast took a bow, some even cheered to "bravos" and U.S. tenor Stuart Neill, who stepped in after a late change on Saturday, received loud cheers for his portrayal of Don Carlos.

But whistling and boos were in store for some of the performers, the conductor and director during a seven-minute applause -- much shorter than at previous openings.

Artistic director Stephane Lissner said the booing, which began in the second act, was due to the change in tenors.

La Scala on Saturday announced Neill would replace Giuseppe Filianoti as Don Carlos. It gave no reason but Filianoti said in a newspaper interview on Sunday he thought it was due to an error he made in a pre-season performance to a younger audience.

"This is something that happens in theatres all over the world. La Scala tonight put on the best cast possible," Lissner told reporters of the change. Filianoti, present at the opening, said he was hurt by the move.

The night in the historic heart of Italy's fashion and financial capital otherwise went smoothly, after having been at risk of cancellation because of strikes and protests.

The 18th century opera house reached a deal on Monday to end a work contract dispute with a performers' union that forced La Scala to cancel several performances of "The Merry Widow" last month and had threatened Sunday's performance.   Continued...

<p>Lights are placed on the trees in front of La Scala Opera Theater in Milan December 7, 2008. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini</p>