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The first Traviata by Zubin Mehta at Teatro alla Scala

The opera activity at Piermarini resumes with Verdi's masterpiece in the form of a concert with the voices of Marina Rebeka, Atalla Ayan, and Leo Nucci; Dolce&Gabbana create Violetta and Flora’s dresses.

After Verdi's Requiem at the Duomo and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to reopen the doors of Piermarini under the direction of Maestro Riccardo Chailly, from September 15 La traviata opens the autumn opera program in the form of a concert with a special dedication by M° Zubin Mehta. "I am well aware - writes the Maestro - of how terrible the moments that everyone in Milan and La Scala have spent in recent months have been and I am very happy that my colleagues have the courage and strength to reopen this great theatre to allow everyone to go back to listening to wonderful music. In this difficult situation I wish the new Superintendent Dominique Meyer all the best and a lot of success.”

In addition to the waiting for the direction of Maestro Mehta, there’s also the prestige of a first-rate cast, starting with the protagonist, Marina Rebeka, who is today among the most requested soprano voices in theatres all over the world: she sang Violetta’s part, among other things, at the Wiener Staatsoper, at the Metropolitan in New York and at the Paris Opéra before interpreting her at La Scala, where she made her debut in 2009 as Countess of Folleville in the Journey to Reims in 2009, in the filming of the show by Lilana Cavani directed by Myung-Whun Chung in 2019. Among the upcoming engagements, Desdemona's part in the Otello conducted by Zubin Mehta at the Opera di Firenze stands out. Beside her, Alfredo is Atalla Ayan, who was Nemorino at La Scala under the direction of Fabio Luisi in 2015, and who is one of the most appreciated interpreters of this part in the theatres of the entire world: in the first months of 2021 it is on the bill at the Metropolitan in New York, at the Hamburg Staatsoper and at the Dresden Semperoper. In the season of La Scala's restart, Leo Nucci could not be missing, who was among the most identifying faces and voices of the last decades of La Scala history: as Germont we remember him in 2007 with Lorin Maazel, in 2017 with Nello Santi and in 2019 with Myung- Whun Chung.

Since his debut in 1962, Maestro Mehta, who is considered one of the most authoritative Verdi interpreters of our time, has conducted only three Verdi operas at La Scala: Il trovatore in 1978, Jérusalem for the Verdi year in 2001 with the Wiener Staatsoper ensembles, and Aida in 2015, as well as the Requiem Mass in 2016. The greater the interest in his reading of La traviata, a work that he directed on numerous occasions and recorded in 1993 with the Maggio Fiorentino, Kiri Te Kanawa and Alfredo Kraus.
Zubin Mehta will return to the Scaligero podium for two concerts for the Symphonic Season: on September 29 and 30 and on October 1, he will conduct Richard Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder and Ein Heldenleben, soprano Camilla Nylund; on October 14, 16 and 17, Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler will return to the lecterns with contralto Daniela Sindram, the Teratro alla Scala Female Choir and the Accademia's Children's Choir.

Marina Rebeka’s dresses, performer of Violetta, and Chiara Isotton as well as of Flora, were specially created by Dolce&Gabbana, thus confirming their passion for the world of opera and their connection with our Theatre.

Tosca directed by Riccardo Chailly in the staging by Davide Livermore and La traviata directed by Zubin Mehta in the historical show by Liliana Cavani should have marked the great return of the Teatro alla Scala in Japan with eight opera performances between Bunka Kaikan and NHK in Tokyo from September 15 to 27. After the cancellation of the tour due to the pandemic, La traviata arrives in Milan with the same cast, while Maestro Chailly will return to the podium with Aida from October 6.

For La Scala, La traviata is a title of absolute reference, already from the first performance, which took place on December 29, 1859. Six years had passed since the turbulent debut of the opera at the Fenice in Venice, and the Milanese public rejected the work with equal vehemence judging it poorly represented and sung, too intimate for the vast spaces of the Scala stage and, above all, too rough. We read on Perseverance: "The question whether art can reach the exclusive expression of certain intimate and abnormal senses, whether the family drama can figure in its prosaic objectivity, is too complex to be solved here on the spot: I believe too much in the expressive effectiveness of music and in its infinite power to admit exclusions”. History proved Perseverance right and the scandalized and tumultuous public wrong, but the path was not linear: only six other productions followed during the nineteenth century. Avenger of the expression of the "intimate and abnormal senses" was Arturo Toscanini, who directed the opera in 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1928, making it a title of the current repertoire, revived in the following years by Marinuzzi, Serafin and De Sabata. In 1948 the director was Giorgio Strehler, with his second title at La Scala after L’amore delle tre melarance. But it is in 1955 that La traviata returns to mark a watershed in the history of musical theatre, with the astral alignment of the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini, the realist and post-dated direction compared to the libretto by Luchino Visconti, the sumptuous pictorial scenes by Lila de Nobili and a cast in which the objective greatness of Giuseppe di Stefano and Ettore Bastianini is dominated by the shocking dramatic truth of Callas, who uses her many voices to draw an unprecedented character. This time as well there were rumblings for the vulgarity of a thrown shoe, for a hat worn at the wrong time, for the inequalities of an overly expressive voice, but ultimately a triumph for the most celebrated show in the history of La Scala to date. So much to inhibit the successors: the attempt to bring the opera back to the stage in 1964 fell under the indignation of the public, despite the names involved were those of Herbert von Karajan, Franco Zeffirelli and Mirella Freni, and for almost three decades it was considered prudent not to try again. Riccardo Muti was given the task of breaking the spell, in 1990, as part of an overall project for the proposal of Verdi's "second score" works. Protected from disputes to the stage by a well-kept, opulent and cinematically traditional staging by Liliana Cavani, Muti plays the card of the young voices and brings on stage Tiziana Fabbricini, Roberto Alagna and Paolo Coni, ardent and identified. The success is such as to open the door to countless re-proposals, first with Muti himself, then with Lorin Maazel, Carlo Montanaro, Nello Santi, Myung-Whun Chung and the voices, among others, of Andrea Rost, Angela Georghiu, Mariella Devia , Anna Netrebko up to Angel Blue. But in the meantime, Verdi's opera once again takes expectations by surprise: on December 7, 2013, under the direction of Daniele Gatti and a superb performance by Diana Damrau, the contemporary version signed by Dmitri Tcherniakov is staged, in which the drama of the family returns to be shown, as the Perseverance had written a century and a half earlier "in its prosaic objectivity", arousing the barrage of the public like the first time. Verdi's inexhaustible power, La traviata never stops moving and touching.

15th, 18th, 22nd, 25th, 28th September 2020
Giuseppe Verdi
La traviata

Director Zubin Mehta
In form of a concert

Characters and performers

Violetta Valéry Marina Rebeka
Flora Chiara Isotton
Annina Francesca Pia Vitale*
Alfredo Germont Atalla Ayan
Giorgio Germont Leo Nucci
Gastone Carlo Bosi
Barone Douphol Fabrizio Beggi
Marchese d’Obigny Costantino Finucci
Dottor Grenvil Alessandro Spina
Giuseppe Brayan Avila Martinez *
Commissionario/Domestico Ernesto Panariello

* Solo Students of Accademia Teatro alla Scala

Choir and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala
Choir Maestro Bruno Casoni


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