MILAN — While many European theaters remain closed due to the pandemic, the famed Teatro alla Scala on Tuesday opens its new season Tuesday with the gala premiere of Verdi’s “Macbeth” to a fully seated house.
La Scala resumed performances at full capacity in September, but there remain considerations for the pandemic: Attendees must be vaccinated or recently recovered to attend performances in Italy under new government regulations launched this week for the holiday season.
After last year’s televised-only premier, the in-person season opener was a positive signal for one of the world’s top opera houses, even as live performances elsewhere continue to suffer as the virus makes a winter resurgence.
“When you see so many great theaters closed — my former theater (the Vienna State Opera), Dresden closed, Leipzig closed, etc., etc., a long list — I have to say we are lucky to arrive at the premiere,” La Scala’s general manager Dominique Meyer said.
Even so, the gala mood is slightly toned down this year, with no grand dinner for the stars and supporting cast of VIPs after the performance. And media access to the foyer to mix with ticketed Milan glitterati, including figures from industry, fashion and the arts, is reduced to avoid crowding.
President Sergio Mattarella is expected to attend what has long been heralded as the cultural event of the European calendar. It will likely be the last time for him as his term expires next year.
La Scala’s music director, Riccardo Chailly, conducts “Macbeth” with a modern staging by Davide Livermore in the pair’s fourth consecutive collaboration for La Scala’s highly touted Dec. 7 season premiere marking the holiday for Milan’s patron Saint Ambrose.
Italian baritone Luca Salsi sings the title role alongside star soprano Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth, Russian baritone Ildar Abdrazakov as Banquo and Italian tenor Francesco Meli as Macduff.