Vienna chief is in the running for La Scala

Vienna chief is in the running for La Scala


norman lebrecht

May 29, 2019

It is reported in Italy that Dominique Meyer, outgoing head of the Vienna State Opera, is on the shortlist to succeed Alexander Pereira as Sovrintendente of La Scala.

Pereira is due to leave next February, unless a hostile board grants him an extension.

In present political circumstances, it is unlikely that a non-Italian will be chosen.

Rome’s Carlo Fuortes is hotly favoured.





  • trvisani simone says:

    Carlo Fuortes means Daniele Gatti. Therefore he will be Sovrintendente.
    Good for La Scala.

    • fflambeau says:

      Maybe but I think La Scala is so international that probably not. Plus, there are the record companies and their international sales to worry about. Gatti has been replaced in Berlin and at the Gewandhaus in Germany for next year; he’s not acceptable in most parts of the world. He was fired in Amsterdam for sexual misconduct.

      There are lots of good Italian opera conductors available. Antonio Pappano would be a much better choice (he’s head of the Royal Opera and is Italian). He’s only 59. I would go after him.

      Another with an international reputation is Stefano Ranzani. He’s conducted opera in Italy and Germany. At top places.

      Yet another is Alessandro De Marchi, although he’s a Baroque opera specialist.

      If you want someone young, how about Francesco Ivan Ciampa who is under 40 and has conducted opera in Naples.

      Bertrand de Billy would be another good pick, although he’s French. He’s 54.

      Then there’s the Spaniard Ramón Tebar who has an impressive opera conducting background. He’s young and has international experience.

      It think it would be risky and a mistake to choose Gatti.

      • Pedro says:

        Gatti has cancelled his Gewandhaus concert and Otello in Baden Baden because of heart surgery. He will go back to Leipzig twice next season, and also to Dresden, Paris, Lugano and so on.

      • Novagerio says:

        You are wrong on mostly all accounts;

        1) There’s basically no recording media anymore, there are Livestreams.
        The days the recording media launched careers and determined an artist’s fee and an orchestra’s or a theatre’s prestige are over.
        2) Gatti’s misconduct has not been proved and propably never will.
        3) Pappano is not Italian, he’s a Britt, born in the US, besides, he has no major record at La Scala.
        4) The conductors you mention are all extremely mediocre, although heavily supported by strong agencies and certain portofolio lobbies, plus, they all lack recognition at La Scala.
        Remember, that orchestra managed to get the mighty Muti fired, and they are rather notoriously merciless with young mediocre and unexperienced conductors who mount the podium mostly thanks to their political connections.

        • fflambeau says:

          “Remember, that orchestra managed to get the mighty Muti fired, and they are rather notoriously merciless with young mediocre and unexperienced (sic.) conductors who mount the podium mostly thanks to their political connections.” How are they with serial sex offenders? Remember, to be sacked from a job, nothing need be “proved” in a court of law; multiple women made claims against Gatti, and according to the Concertgebouw (in an interview published on this web site) one of the most famous orchestras in the world, one lady made a claim against him even after the process began of firing their late Maestro. The orchestra did their own investigation and found credible evidence against Gatti, who to my knowledge has not even sued his former employer and instead made a statement that seemed to admit his guilt.

          To lots of people worldwide, this is a big event.

          As far as I know, DG still issues recordings and so does Phillips and others. They are still major players. Just who is going to buy this man’s records? Who is going to attend his concerts? Hiring him will made La Scala a joke internationally.

          By the way Pappano is Italian-British (he was born in Epping which is not in the U.S.A.). He’s also well connected in Italy and is music director of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Roma. He’s also highly thought of: receiving the Vittorio de Sica prize from Italian President Napolitano in 2010. He’s worked with top people in the industry including Daniel Barenboim at Bayreuth. He has a much better background than Gatti and has recorded Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner and many others.

          As for the conductors I mentioned, Bertrand de Billy has conducted operas with all the major opera houses: including the Met and at Salzburg and Vienna. His discography is extensive.

          Stefano Ranzani conducts at all the major world opera sites including Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Buenos Aires, etc. Contrary to your stupid assertions, he has lots of experience with La Scala. From a published interview with him:

          “You may be asking yourself how Maestro Ranzani came to possess this lovely vision about music? The answer is that his formation as a conductor is based on his experience at the legendary La Scala theatre. Under the tutelage, and influence of Gianandrea Gavazzeni, the long-time Principal Conductor at La Scala, Maestro Ranzani was steeped for seven years in the rich musical tradition of the theatre. Maetro Gavazzeni was himself a pupil of the great Arturo Toscanini… .” Source:

          La Scala is a major international opera house and it does not deserve to be associated with scandal.

          • Novagerio says:

            Fflambeau, I’m in the opera business since 30 years. I know all about those conductors, including Gavazzeni who’m I have heard and seen in 1994-96.
            I’m just giving you some inside-intel.
            And yes, what is left today of the recording industry is mainly symbolic. People don’t buy records anymore as much as they did until only 15 years ago, and record stores are mostly extinct now a days. (Unless you buy on the web).

            What I’m saying is that the record industry is not anymore instrumental in an artist’s reputation as it was since the immediate post-war years and the introduction of stereo in 1958.
            Besides, artists don’t get royalties anymore.
            Buona giornata!

      • ricci says:

        Actually ‘Antonio” Pappano is British and used to be known as Anthony Pappano…..

        • fflambeau says:

          He was born In the U.K. (Epping) but is of Italian heritage and conducts the major orchestra in Roma. He speaks Italian.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            His accent is pure New York, wherever he was born and whatever is written on his passport.

  • fflambeau says:

    Very Italian post likely only for an Italian.

  • Nick says:

    What’s wrong with political circumstances in Italy?
    The position should be given to best qualified, simple.
    Nothing to do with politics, which are nothing short of great at present.

    • fflambeau says:

      Sorry, you haven’t lived in Italy and don’t understand nationalism at all.

      It’s an iconic post; the equivalent would be a Russian as head of the Met.

    • Novagerio says:

      The norm is that positions/appointments in Italy are given by the government and the ruling party, and that goes way back. Abbado was appointed by the Milanese communist fraction of politics and bureaucrats, Muti by the former and now extinct Democrazia Cristiana, then Chailly by the Social Democrats (Renzi-government).
      Barenboim’s La Scala appointment was only as Principal Conductor, as a major international figure.
      It’s not clear what the current ruling M5S/Lega would do about the arts in the former cradle of culture.

      • fflambeau says:

        Italy and/or Milano is the “former cradle of culture”? You must be joking.

        From the comments made by Italians here, I’m beginning to see why Muti left Milano and never returns there.

  • babel says:

    Please, before telling inaccuracies about one of the best living conductors, check his calendar online ( out of Italy Gatti will conduct in Dresden (3 concerts), Dortmund, Moscow, Munich (2 concerts), Leipzig (7 concerts, included the New Eve’s concert live broadcasted by ZDF-television), in Paris, in Lugano, in Athens, in Chiana and so on. And in Italy he appears with the best orchestras in the most prestigious venues: Maggio of Florence, Milan La Scala (new “Pelléas et Mélisande”), Santa Cecilia in Rome, Rai Orchestra in Turin, Spoleto Festival. And Orchestra Mozart, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Rome Opera haven’t yet announced their new seasons.
    No doubt that Daniele Gatti is the perfect candidate for La Scala Music Direction.

    • Novagerio says:

      Babel: Provided the PD wins again in the next elections (!) 😉

    • fflambeau says:

      And how many of these dates will be/have been cancelled “due to health concerns”?

      La Scala will commit suicide if they appoint him but that might not be a bad thing: ask Muti.