Milan’s La Scala emptied for conductor tribute

Milan's La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra on Monday night performed to an empty theatre, instead broadcasting to thousands standing silently outside, as a tribute to conductor Claudio Abbado who died last week.

Milan's La Scala emptied for conductor tribute
La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra performed to an empty theatre on Monday evening. Screenshot: teatroallascala/YouTube

The theatre doors were swung open on Monday evening and the orchestra’s performance of the Funeral March (Adagio assai), from Beethoven's Eroica, aired in the Piazza della Scala.

Thousands gathered in silence to hear the performance, conducted by La Scala’s Musical Director Daniel Barenboim.

The tribute came a week after the death of 80-year-old Abbado, who was the opera house’s musical director from 1965 until 1986.

READ MORE: Italian conductor Claudio Abbado dies aged 80

After leaving his native Milan, Abbado was musical director of the Staatsoper in Vienna between 1986 and 1991. He also worked at the Vienna Philharmonic and conducted the London Symphony Orchestra between 1979 and 1988.

READ MORE: The Italian conductor who leaves behind a legacy

Watch the video of La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra’s tribute to Abbado:

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Woody Allen to stage Puccini opera at Milan’s La Scala

Woody Allen, embroiled in revived sex abuse allegations, will take part in the 2018-19 season of Milan's La Scala when he directs his version of a Puccini comic opera, the head of the celebrated opera house said on Wednesday.

Woody Allen to stage Puccini opera at Milan's La Scala
Inside La Scala opera house in Milan. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The programme, which opens on December 7th, will include the veteran US director's riotous rendition of Gianni Schicci, set in New York's “Little Italy” in the 1930s. Allen's version, which was a hit in Los Angeles in 2015 with Spanish legend Placido Domingo in the title role, will play in Milan in July 2019.

The 82-year-old has faced growing isolation over allegations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow as a seven-year-old in 1992, leading a string of actors to distance themselves from him.

The allegations, which have never been proved, resurfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

READ ALSO: 'That time when…': Italian women speak up about sexual harassment

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

“Let's not give that too much weight,” La Scala director Alexander Pereira told AFP, adding: “There's also another part” of Hollywood that still wants to work with Allen, who has directed more than 50 films, winning four Oscars and numerous accolades in Europe.

“He's 82 years old, what does all this mean?” Pereira asked. “Let's leave things as they are.”

La Scala's season will open with the 1846 Verdi opera “Attila” under the baton of Riccardo Chailly, with Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role opposite soprano Saioa Hernandez of Spain.

“Half of the programme will be dedicated to the Italian repertoire, because opera was born here,” Pereira told a news conference.

By Celine Cornu