Bartoli declares La Scala boycott over Pereira dismissal

Bartoli declares La Scala boycott over Pereira dismissal


norman lebrecht

June 23, 2019

The mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has withdrawn from three Handel operas she had committed to La Scala. Her decision is connected to the board’s refusal to renew the contract of sovrintendente Alexander Pereira, with whom she worked closely at the Salzburg Festivals.

Emails from her husband, Oliver Widmer, to Pereira have been published in Italian media. One reads:

Dear Alexander, Cecilia is shocked by the decision not to extend your contract. In these circumstances, she does not believe that she can collaborate with La Scala. I am very sorry and I hope that we will be able to meet up together soon in another situation.

photo: Marco Brescia Teatro-alla-Scala, 2018

Bartoli’s name was removed from Giulio Cesare yesterday, hours after premium-priced tickets went on sale.


  • Lawrence Watts says:

    Surely she should honour her commitment to her ’employers’ then take on no more roles. Think of her disappointed audience and followers.

    • Ina Stas says:

      We are here…scala Milan… 17 october … my sister and myself to surprise my mom with à concert for m’y moms 80 birthday letting her look at thé board in front of la scala… to then read she s not on thé list… our surprise has totally failed.. we bought tickets march 2018 … traveling from Belgium ….

  • Peter says:

    Solidarity of an artist to an opera intendant, not to the audience?!??!
    And still the production will be under the “reign” of Pereira… so why boycott it?
    Have read also Mrs Bartoli’s last facebook statement – accusing the management of La Scala of not removing her name from the website, but ironically the management is still represented by Pereira – isn’t that really double stupid?
    Shameful, ridiculous behaviour…

    • Tristan says:

      Robert Carsen is the drwa of this and definitely not Signora Bartoli – just imagine she woul dhave yodeled her Norma at La Scala…..

  • Anon says:

    La prima donnas passa, La Scala rimane.

  • Keen Ned says:

    Pereira wasn’t dismissed. They declined to renew his contract any further. Their reasons for doing so are obvious to all.

  • MatthewNYC says:

    The guy was booted from the board for courting a medieval Saudi Prince to buy a 17 million euro seat on the house’s board of directors. The board rejected the money and the deal. He deserved to be dismissed. Not sure why Bartoli wants to stand with him.

  • Gian Antonio says:

    I was one of the many thoughtless buyers of a few tickets (5) for a performance of Giulio Cesare, just a few hours before La Bartoli announced her withdrawal from the production. Now I don’t know if La Scala was aware of this, but it really sounds like a joke. While I may understand her loyalty to Pereira, she should consider that an opera house is run by hundreds of people, not a single man, and she should show some respect for them, without mentioning her fans and the public in general.
    I will definitely enjoy Giulio Cesare even without her, as the rest of the cast sounds quite promising, especially considering how rare baroque operas are at La Scala and in Italy in general.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Doesn’t she have contractual obligations? Can La Scala sue for potential drop in ticket sales and financial losses?

  • Tristan says:

    no one will regret to miss yodeling that Salzburg has got more than enough

  • Cantantelirico says:

    I’m sure La Scala has Lisette Oropesa’s phone number on file.

  • Frankster says:

    The incoming intendant, Dominique Meyer, still runs the Vienna State Opera until until 2020-21 and will take over in La Scala with 2020-21 season. He is French and still well liked there. Bartoli’s withdrawal will annoy managers in three countries.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      If Meyer was ‘well liked’ in France, why did his tenure at the Opéra de Paris last less than a year? If he was so popular in Vienna, why was his contract not renewed?
      The fact is that Meyer is a bean-counter who puts ticket sales before artistic excellence. In severely limiting rehearsal time, permitting massive numbers of orchestral substitutions at every performance and having only one or two ‘name’ conductors in a season, Dominique Meyer has downgraded the Wiener Staatsoper to a TripAdvisor attraction. Even Braunschweig and Bonn do better. Povera Scala.

      • Jory Vinikour says:

        A bit curious as to where you get this information. Meyer was never director of Opera de Paris, but was director of the Théâtre des Champs Elysées for a number of years.

        His tenure in Vienna was a successful one, including bringing performances of Baroque operas on period instruments to the house. He is all but a bean counter.

        • Jonathan Sutherland says:

          Meyer’s official biography states he was Director of the Palais Garnier and Opera de la Bastille from 1989-1990

    • Tristan says:

      don’t overrate this singer, I remember heavy booing when she sang at La Scala – she is most popular in Germany – that says it all

      • Keen Ned says:

        In Germany they applaud the name, not the performance. Probably you could be in the grave for three years and still be ‘popular in Germany’

  • Ennis Brown says:

    I’m gutted- my wife had just bought top price box seats – within minutes of the booking opening – for Giulio Cesare on my birthday. We have followed Cecilia for years and seen her a number of times in Birmingham. However never been to La Scala before and it was the opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience. Just booked the flights and accommodation yesterday.
    Obviously will still go but please change your mind Cecilia/ La Scala.

  • Annaza says:

    Künstlerisch und menschlich Klasse!