Riccardo Chailly exclusive: ‘This is the worst moment ever for La Scala’

Riccardo Chailly exclusive: ‘This is the worst moment ever for La Scala’


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2014

The incoming principal conductor at La Scala Milan is one of the most candid men on the podium, honest with his situation and with himself.

We’ve had a wide-ranging conversation on film for sinfini.com about his life, his work and the massive challenge he faces. There is a short version (click here) about the problems at La Scala, which he describes as the worst in its history, adding, ‘I am not a masochist.’


In the full half-hour film we discuss his memories of Claudio Abbado, Herbert von Karajan, Franco Ferrara and others shaped him. Claudio’s motto was: ‘Keep the door always open.’

Chailly is one of the first to break down barriers between conductors and audience, to explore together new meanings in familiar works. ‘Machine-gun conducting in standard repertoire does not interest me at all,’ he says.



chailly lebrecht


  • sdReader says:

    Bravo, Norman!

    And readers should definitely watch the whole chat, because Chailly is so refreshing.

    Incidentally, his opening to the Brahms has exactly the right tempo (not even slightly leaden) and places the timpani in ideal dynamic balance, at least as recorded here.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      Oh man, Chailly will be so relieved to hear that you approve of his choice of tempo! It must have cost him sleepless nights awaiting you verdict.

  • Mark S says:

    Thanks – an excellent interview. Great to see RC in such good health as I know he had some problems the other year.

  • Novagerio says:

    A delightful interview!

  • Michael Endres says:

    Great interview .
    More please !!
    ( and that tie was fabulous . )

  • Christos Sofis says:

    Great Interview. Enjoyable and illuminating. Somehow Mr. Lebrecht has the ability to get the best out of people he talks with. I am an admirer of Ricardo Chailly. However I cannot get to terms with his recent Brahms album. Playing is technically superb throughout, but all the teutonic depth of sound, the nostalgic contemplation, the mixture of exuberant and profound are gone. He didnot mention Pierre Boulez as an influence in the interview, did he?

  • Nick says:

    Superb interview! So many illuminating thoughts from Chailly! Love his views on the importance of Bach and also his casual after-concert availability for discussion in his hotel. Breaking down the barriers between stage and audience is so important for the future of music and too few conductors pay nearly enough attention to it.