La Scala opera house reopens to public after six months of silence

Photo: EPA

Milan's mythical La Scala opera house erupted into huge applause on Monday to hail a stirring performance at its triumphant reopening after six months of silence imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, AFP reported. The performance came a day before the 75th anniversary of a historic concert in 1946 that celebrated the postwar reopening of La Scala which had been bombed three years earlier and rebuilt.

The musicians and performers were greeted by loud applause and volleys of "Bravos!" from the small but enthusiastic audience of 500 lucky music lovers.  "It's a huge emotion to be able to once more breathe in the atmosphere that only the public can give us," said first violinist Laura Marzadori.  "I hope this is a new beginning and that we won't stop again after these sad months of silence," she added.

Bass clarinettist Stefano Cardo called it "a double rebirth," as conductor Arturo Toscanini had opened La Scala after the war "and we are trying to revive it after the pandemic".

To respect social distancing, the musicians took over the ground-floor seating area, with the audience confined to the balconies.

The concert on Monday evening, which began with the majestic "Patria Oppressa" ("Oppressed Fatherland") from Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth". Performed by the La Scala Chorus, it was led by musical director Riccardo Chailly.

"We have all listened to recorded concerts from our armchairs, but this has nothing to do with the emotion of live music, the quality and beauty of natural sound," said Dominique Meyer, La Scala's director since 2020.

Making her La Scala debut on Monday was 34-year-old Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, delivering moving interpretations of arias from Wagner's "Tannhaeuser", Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" and Tchaikovsky's "Queen of Spades".  The concert ended with the famous chorus of slaves, "Va, pensiero", from Verdi's "Nabucco", the ode to freedom also sung during Toscanini's concert in 1946.

La Scala's reopening was preceded by Italian conductor Riccardo Muti leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in more than five months on Sunday in the northern Italian city of Ravenna.

And Muti returns to La Scala on Tuesday for the 75th anniversary.

Similar articles