Woody Allen: How I got to La Scala

Woody Allen: How I got to La Scala


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2019

The film director, hounded out of Manhattan by his former wife and stepchildren, is staging Gianni Schicchi at the home of Italian opera, courtesy of Alexander Pereira.

Italian media are ecstatic.


  • Brian says:

    Given the amount of opera in his classic films, I’d be curious to see this (too bad the interpreter talks over him during the presser).

    • Yes Addison says:

      There is an LA Opera video release of Allen’s production with Domingo and some good young singers. Thomas Allen was the Schicchi when it was a new production, but that wasn’t filmed.

      LA Opera originally appended it to a Tabarro/Angelica from another film director, William Friedkin. In later years, the pairing was Zeffirelli’s updated Pagliacci.

  • anon says:

    “…his former wife and stepchildren”

    Mia Farrow was never his wife.

    Ronan is Woody’s biological child; no one else has offered proof otherwise.

    (Even Ronan has not disowned Woody, and it would be simple enough for Ronan to take a DNA test to see if he’s more Italian than Jewish.)

    As for opera, Rigoletto is more suited to Woody Allen, with his life work of films about old-men-on-young-women sexual relationships.

    • Bob Boles says:

      Obvously you’ve never seen Rigoletto [faceslap]

      What else don’t you know about?

      • Mike Schachter says:

        Quite, I think the duke is regarded as at most early middle aged and probably younger, certainly not old.

        • Bob Boles says:

          Exactly. The libretto refers several times to the Duke as being ‘a young man’ – having to serve an employer younger than himself is all part of Rigoletto’s growing hatred. It gnaws him that the Duke could be a credible match for Gilda – and thus leave him alone in his old age.

          One-time Woody Allen collaborator Zero Mostel appeared as Schicchi. Of course, he wasn’t an opera singer, and he growls and croons his way through a lot of it… but he gets the zanni’s malevolent glee well, and Allen will doubtless have watched this clip a few times:


        • anon says:

          Old, young, depends on when you’re looking at it:


          (or just enjoy a video of young (or is it old) Keanu)

      • sam says:

        No need to slap your own face, plenty people to do it for you.

        • Bob Boles says:

          So kind. But I’d prefer to do it myself – not to put you and your NRA pals to the trouble,

    • Yes Addison says:

      “Life work” is a little extreme. He wrote and directed about 50 films, and I can only think of a few that have an older man in a sexual relationship with a much younger woman. Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow were his most frequent onscreen romantic partners. They’re younger, but not by all that much.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      Rowan is clearly not Woody’s biological child – as Mia Farrow now admits, she was sleeping with Frank Sinatra around the time of his birth and the resemblance is unmistakable.

  • Rob says:

    Woody is talking about flowers in central park

  • Alan says:

    One of the best/worst* (*delete as applicable) examples of the take no prisoners aspect of the #metoo movement. A true artist taken down by an appalling, spiteful women with a closet overflowing with skeletons. But because she’s a woman the New York Times gives her a free pass.

    • Bob Boles says:

      Agreed! Although Woody hasn’t exactly been an angel either. But then… who is?

    • We privatize your value says:

      As a matter of fact, the insufferable Mia Farrow is a true artist, too: a very gifted actress with a long and illustrious career.

      • Ramon Figueroa says:

        A lot of which she owes to him. Her career was pretty stagnant when Allen started to use her in his movies. It is interesting that after the whole scandal started, she showed up at the set of “Manhattan Murder Mystery” for fittings, as if nothing had happened and she hadn’t said the things she said. It is also interesting that after all the accusations of being a child molester, there hasn’t been one more incident involving Allen in that (and there wasn’t any before. The way the MeToo movement has mobilized people, there would have been something said by now). You know that’s a condition you just don’t switch off. Also, the Farrows seemed to stir the pot every time Woody Allen had a new movie opening or if one of his actors was nominated for an Oscar. I am so glad the Academy didn’t pay attention to them and gave the prize to Cate Blanchett.

        • We privatize your value says:

          I am honestly not a fan of “Rosemary’s Baby”, which I find heavy-handed and full of hammy actors (especially John Cassavetes and Ruth Gordon), but Farrow is really very good in it. And that was before she met Allen, and also before Polanski… well, I’ll stop right here.

    • MacroV says:

      I’m not totally down on Woody Allen, but his own daughter alleges he molested her. And it’s not beyond the ability of “a true artist” to engage in egregious personal behavior. Going back to Gesualdo and perhaps earlier.

      • Mark says:

        Woody Allen was investigated by the authorities in two states – New York and Connecticut. He’s never been charged with any crime, and in Connecticut, the state-appointed child psychologist concluded that the child had likely been coached. As we say in NYC, enough already !

      • Bob Boles says:

        But you are totally down on Gergiev, aren’t you, MacroV? Is Woody a henchman too? You haven’t told us yet.

        • MacroV says:

          Yes, because he’s a Putin toady, when if he were to walk away from Putin and Russia, he’d be wanted all over the world. But they’re not really analagous situations.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Bravo. A closet full of skeletons in the Farrow closet, indeed.

    • RM says:

      To what skeletons do you refer? Are you one of her victims?

    • V. Lind says:

      Oh, I’m not sure he’s all that innocent. I mean, he did seduce her very young daughter and his de facto step daughter, and much later marry her.

      • M2N2K says:

        As far as I know, marrying an adult adopted daughter of one’s former girlfriend is not a crime, yet.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Not a crime, but definitely a bit “icky”. We CAN judge people for their behaviour even when, in the legal sense, no crime as been committed.

  • sycorax says:

    Let’s hope he’ll be at the Scala a bit more involved as in his Gianni Schicchi in L.A.
    I remember well a rather amused Thomas Allen telling about the rehearsals and the director who was obviously a kind of “phantom” and didn’t talk to the singers. 😉

  • We privatize your value says:

    Allen is far from perfect, but he appears to be less full of himself than both Mia and Ronan Farrow.

  • Dean says:

    With all due respect: exactly who gives a sh!t? Welcome to 2019.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Well, wait a minute: In the rush to judgment on Woody Allen per the #metoo movement, many have overlooked Moses Farrow’s article http://mosesfarrow.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-son-speaks-out-by-moses-farrow.html
    Yes, his take on the story differs from that of Ronan Farrow and Dylan Farrow, but Moses is a credible source and his views should be considered.

  • Anon says:

    But this is nothing new. Woody Allen staged Gianni Schicci in Madrid at the Teatro Real during their 2014-15 season. He had done it with another US opera company – was it LA Opera? – before that.

    • YB Schragadove says:

      As mentioned by Yes Addison, Allen staged GS at LA Opera some years back. I saw the production and it was brilliant! (The singing was good also!)

  • Tom Phillips says:

    How has he been “hounded out of Manhattan”? As far as I’m aware, he still lives here. What’s more, Mia Farrow is NOT his “former wife” – they were not married, nor did they even live together. Therefore her few biological children – and boatloads of adopted children – are not his “stepchildren”. All points that could easily be ascertained by doing under 5 minutes of research or fact-checking.