The show must go on; ‘Macbeth’ opens La Scala opera season despite COVID


FILE PHOTO: People attend the re-opening of La Scala opera house after it was closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Milan, Italy, May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

December 7, 2021

(Refiles to fix figure in paragraph 6)

By Sara Rossi

MILAN (Reuters) – Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” will kick off La Scala’s opera season before hundreds of spectators later on Tuesday just as the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is again forcing many theatres elsewhere in Europe to shut their doors.

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella and some celebrities are expected to attend the premiere that usually marks the opening of Milan’s cultural calendar but which this year remains clouded by worries over the spread of the virus.

While Italy’s cinemas and theatres reopened to the public in late April, the government on Monday again restricted access to an array of venues and services, including theatres, for those not yet vaccinated.

“When you see so many great theatres closed, like the Vienna State Opera, those in Munich, Dresden and Leipzig, I have to say we are lucky… This year’s season opening is a sort of miracle,” said La Scala’s artistic director Dominique Meyer.

Only the audience and members of the orchestra will have to wear masks, while the actors and choir will perform standing on stage at a distance.

Meyer said La Scala had spent around 1.7 million euros ($1.9 million) since the start of the pandemic on swabs, sanitisation and other measures to contain the virus.

The opera, based on William Shakespeare’s tragic play, tells the story of a Scottish general who, goaded on by his power-hungry wife, murders the king and has himself crowned.

Italian baritone Luca Salsi stars as Macbeth, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth, and Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Banquo, the friend that Macbeth has murdered.

Though ‘Macbeth’ is originally set in the 11th century, director Davide Livermore decided to stage the opera in a modern city with skyscrapers and a big lift, using augmented reality.

The opera will run ‪until Dec. 29.

($1 = 0.8862 euros)

(Reporting by Sara Rossi, editing by Agnieszka Flak and Gareth Jones)

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