The Russian opera “Boris Godounov” will open the next season of La Scala

MILANO— Milan’s famed Teatro alla Scala on Monday announced the celebration of next season’s gala premiere with Russian opera ‘Boris Godunov’, in a move it hopes will underline the separation of culture and tradition. politics.

La Scala’s 2022-23 schedule, set long before Russia invaded Ukraine, also marks the Milan Opera premiere of another Russian opera, Antonin Dvořák’s ‘Rusalka’, and includes a host of Russian stars singing roles in the Russian composition as well as other titles.

“We hope we will have a Saint Ambrose (holiday) which will also celebrate peace,” said Mayor Giuseppe Sala, chairman of the board of directors of La Scala, calling Modest Mussorgsky’s opera a “masterpiece”. ‘work “. He referred to the December 7 feast for Milan’s patron saint when La Scala holds its annual season opener gala, one of the most anticipated events on the European cultural calendar.

Managing director Dominique Meyer pointed out that the choices were made two or three years ago, in line with the opera world’s practice of drawing up schedules and booking stars years in advance.

The announcement of an unusually busy Russian schedule comes months after La Scala became one of the first opera houses to ban Russian conductor Valery Gergiev after he failed to respond to their appeal to denounce the war.

The opera’s management was quick to separate Gergiev from other Russian artists who will perform in Milan, noting that his position as general manager and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg brings him closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We considered him a politician. The others, no. He is almost Minister of Culture. That’s another case,” Meyer said.

“Boris Godunov”, which the La Scala program describes as “a disturbing fresco on the brutality and loneliness of power”, opened the 1979-80 season, directed by Claudio Abbado.

Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, who sang in last season’s premiere, will sing the title role in “Boris Godunov,” while Russian tenor Dmitry Korchak will headline “Rusalka.”

Conductor and music director Riccardo Chailly, who attended Abbado’s ‘Boris Godunov’ premiere in 1979, said he had long been pushing for more Russian music on La Scala’s calendar, historically heavy on the Italian repertoire as the first opera in the cradle of lyrical music. theater. Giuseppe Verdi is by far the most represented composer at the December 7 season opener.

“It would be serious to penalize the artistic aspect of the tragedy that we all know is taking place in Ukraine,” Chailly said. “It seems necessary to me, in the light of what we have unfortunately been living for more than 90 days, (to say) that great music can live in complete autonomy, as it should.

“It is important to distinguish the two things. Giving merit to those who deserve it and bringing masterpieces to life independently of events.

The 14 operas on the calendar also include ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, with American soprano Lisette Oropesa in the title role opposite Juan Diego Flórez. The Donizetti Opera was scheduled to open the 2020-21 season, but was delayed due to pandemic restrictions.

La Scala also revives ‘Andrea Chénier’ by Umberto Giordano, which opened the 2017-18 season, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late director and stage director Franco Zeffirelli with his staging of ‘La Bohème’. and the premiere of Leonardo da Vinci’s Neapolitan opera “Li Zite ‘Ngalera” as part of a project to relaunch Italian Baroque opera.

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who received rave reviews last week at La Scala, will sing four dates of Verdi’s Macbeth, alternating with Belarusian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk.

The ballet season opens with Rudolf Nureyev’s choreography for ‘The Nutcracker’, marking the 30th anniversary of the Russian dancer’s death. The program, which includes both classical and contemporary choreography, contains another tribute to Nureyev, with his choreography on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.

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