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Chailly celebrates first 40 years at La Scala

Innovative production of Verdi's 'Masnadieri' at Rome Opera

Chailly celebrates first 40 years at La Scala

Rome, January 22 - On January 24, Riccardo Chailly will celebrate 40 years at La Scala while the opera he first conducted will be at the Teatro di Roma opera house this season in a new production by Massimo Popolizio. That day, on the request of Claudio Abbado, he stepped in for a sick Gianandrea Gavazzeni to conduct Verdi's 'I Masnadieri'. Last year the Milan maestro took on the role of musical director in addition to being the main conductor of the Philharmonic. And it is with the Philharmonic that he will return to the podium exactly 40 years later in London's Barbican Centre, the kick-off for a European tour of the ensemble that will include Budapest, Paris, Luxembourg and that two dates that have almost been sold out already at Vienna's Musikverein on January 29-30. Chailly is looking towards the future and busy with several plans including Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale', which he will conduct starting on April 3. "I was a boy when I conducted 'I Masnadieri'," Chailly said on December 7, noting that he was 25 at the time. "Since then I have found that the theater is affectionate and collaborative" and "this enthusiasm is rekindled every time". He has many plans with La Scala, such as the commitment to rediscovering operas such as "Andrea Chenier", starring soprano Anna Netrebko, which opened on December 7 at the gala season premiere. The maestro noted that "a high-quality orchestra must have a vast repertoire and a regular presence in the media." He has recorded several albums with La Scala and one will soon be released with music by Luigi Cherubini and then another with music by Nino Rota. Meanwhile, Teatro di Roma has made the bold decision to put on 'I Masnadieri' - which was by no means Giuseppe Verdi's most successful opera - on stage with a new director, Massimo Popolizio. It is Popolizio's first foray into the world of opera and the theater's second act of boldness after Hector Berlioz's 'Damnation de Faust ' in an innovative production by Damiano Micheletto. On that occasion, there were a few complaints about the staging - as was the case on Saturday with the debut of the Verdi opera, which runs through February 4 - but resounding applause for Roberta Mantegna in the role of Amalia. The atmosphere of the opera is gloomy and tragic despite Verdi's touches of levity that can seem misplaced but which Popolizio handled well, making the 'Masnadieri' an archetype of brutality.

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