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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 14:02 GMT
Italian media hails La Scala 'triumph'
La Scala cast
Applause all round for opera cast
The Italian media have heaped praise on Tuesday's re-opening of Milan's opera house, La Scala, after a three-year closure for renovation.

Almost everyone seemed to agree that the occasion was a "triumph" for the theatre and its musical conductor, Riccardo Muti.

The only doubts were over the opera chosen for the event, Europa Riconosciuta, a little-known work by Antonio Salieri, with which the theatre was inaugurated in 1778 but has not been performed since.

Italian state radio Rai said the occasion was a historic one. "The evening seemed to sum up 226 years of history, from 1778 which saw the birth of the most famous opera house in the world."

It added that "under Muti's perfect conducting", the main singers "were excellent".

However, the radio appeared to be slightly doubtful over the intrinsic quality of the opera.

"This 7 December will stay in history because of the circumstances which characterised it, which go beyond the quality of the music of Salieri's opera," it said.

'No masterpiece'

Milan's Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading daily, had no such reservations and stressed the importance of rediscovering such a long-forgotten part of Milan's heritage.

The new Scala goes back to the past
Il Messagero

"The opera Europa Riconosciuta by Antonio Salieri was sleeping in the history of music and Milan, with nobody awakening it for over 200 years.

"Breaking the spell of this sleep was more than just a cultural challenge. Its performance opened up a forgotten box containing lost emotions, displaying them despite the laws of time and creating a party for Milan and its people."

But director Riccardo Muti himself was more moderate in assessing the quality of Salieri's opera, in comments quoted by Rome's La Repubblica - "It certainly is not a masterpiece but is still a very important piece of music".

The Rome paper agreed that the occasion was a "triumph". "Riccardo Muti and stage director Luca Ronconi have passed the most difficult test - the re-opening of La Scala after a three-year renovation," it said.

The most sceptical review came from Rome's Il Messaggero in an article headlined "The new Scala goes back to the past".

Even though the paper admitted that the performance was "impeccable" and the staging "learned and elegant", it was unimpressed by the choice of opera

"Antonio Salieri's opera, which was complex and difficult, did not trigger enthusiasm. The least convincing thing about the highly anticipated opening of La Scala was the opera chosen, Europa Riconosciuta."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Look inside Milan's renovated opera house

Opera returns to Milan's La Scala
07 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
Restoring the glory to La Scala
17 Jul 04 |  Entertainment
La Scala's restoration drama
02 Jan 03 |  Europe
La Scala renovation 'halted'
10 Dec 02 |  Entertainment
Milan's opera house to reopen
07 Feb 02 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Milan's La Scala
06 Dec 01 |  Entertainment


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