Two bosses face showdwn at Naples’ calamitous San Carlo

Two bosses face showdwn at Naples’ calamitous San Carlo


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2023

The story so far:

Italy’s nationalist government fired the Frenchman Stéphane Lissner as Sovrintendent of San Carlo by passing an ageist law limiting such jobs to the under 70s.

In place of Lissner, they appointed Carlo Fuortes, head of the national broadcaster, Rai.

He started work this week.

Two days ago, a court ordered San Carlo to reinstate Lissner.

So now there are two managers and neither will budge.

Lissner says: ‘Months spent in limbo that I didn’t deserve but above all the San Carlo Theatre and the city of Naples didn’t deserve. Today, the Court of Naples gave the first, fundamental signal of how my dismissal was an illegitimate and ad hominem act, devoid of concepts of legal civility that guide every democratic system… Now, I am available to carry out my task together with the extraordinary people who work in the Theatre.’

Fuortes (pic) said: ‘I’m staying here for the good of the theatre. I’m at work and I only worry about doing the best for San Carlo. I work for what I have to do. I hope I’m doing a great job and continue like this. I only talk about what I say and do, nothing else.’


  • Sam's Hot Car Lot says:

    Perhaps the Camorra will decide who stays and who goes.

  • Henry williams says:

    Is he so short of money that he needs to work at his age.

  • Gustavo says:

    Muti for manager!

  • Potpourri says:

    Politicians getting involved with the arts leads to disaster.

  • Novagerio says:

    “It’s my chair!” – “No, it’s my chair – and it’s lawfully mine!”

    Pagliacciate italiane. And what does the napolitan taxpayer say to that?…
    Well, then they’ll complain about cuts in the cultural sector…

  • Chicagorat says:

    Sangiuliano, the Minister of Culture of the neo-fascist Italian government just said: “Lissner must go back to San Carlo, we must obey the court orders”. Yeah, right. We are talking Italy and we believe it when we see it.

    But – hey – Muti must be seething. The desperate old man is probably borrowing a line from his personal hero, Don Giovanni: “It seems the devil must be amusing himself at my expense. Everything is going badly.”

    Muti hates Lissner to the core, since the Frenchman was installed at La Scala decades ago. Their mutual beef runs long and deep. As the musical scene was reawakening after Covid in February 2021, Lissner cancelled three Muti concerts in Naples. Good heavens. Muti used all his mouth pieces in the Italian press to make the country and the world know that he was “offended”. (

    Subsequently, Muti started to court the new neo-fascist Italian government. “The Left has not helped culture. Right does not mean fascism” (

    Sangiuliano took notice as Muti is a hero of Italian nationalists (the equivalent of Trump followers in the US – Make Italy Great Again). Salvini, the head of Lega, the Italian racist northern party, posted Muti bigoted comments on transgender issues on social media (Just google Muti and transgender). Sgarbi, Undersecretary of Sangiuliano AND a bunga-bunga party regular invitee of the late Berlusconi AND a buddy of Muti, AND the man who routinely refers to women as “figa” (“p***y”, I guess? [a]), AND the man who was asked by many to resign from his post for that very reason [b]; Sgarbi, we were saying, used the media attention on La Scala opening night to declare that there were too many foreigners heading Italian theaters, and that “he had discussed the matter with Muti”. Muti reasoned along similar lines (“Too many foreigners in Italy”

    After that, the wheels of destiny were set in motion. The Italian neo-fascists made a law “ad personam” (therefore, illegitimate) to get rid of Lissner in Naples and install Fuortes, the manager who had already worked with Muti in Rome (another Mutian epic disaster which ended with the Bill Clinton of classical music offended because Rome did not confer the honorary Roman citizenship to him; later packing his s*** and leaving after the orchestra went on strike – ironic, no, for the Chicago picket line man, maybe he has a US doppelganger; then followed by the dismissal of the entire orchestra; because, you know that Muti cares about the musicians first and foremost). In his first press conferences, Fuortes presented his “intellectual credentials” by stating his top priority: bring Muti back to Naples ( Sangiuliano and the Region president De Luca made public their plans of bringing back Muti, too, and they met the Godfather in person.

    So now you know why Muti is seething. Some rogue honest judge is interfering with the master plan.

    But I am pissed too. I am very pissed. I have a dog in this fight, and Fuortes is my man. As I said before: The Italian Stallion and Naples deserve each other ( The sooner he goes and sets up his circus there, the merrier we will all be. I am not giving up hope and I place all my bets on the erratic and mafia-owned Italian legal system. To the next episode, in the Italian Court of Appeals.

    [a] Muti and Sgarbi get along quite well. Great minds think alike.

    [b] But it’s Italy, where the f word is the second most uttered, and most beloved word, after “mamma”.

    • MD says:

      Hey, glad to see that Muti still occupies your thoughts day and night. I was afraid that his departure from Chicago would have deprived you of your focus in life, making you fall into depression. Luckily, your obsession with him knows no geographic boundaries. Maybe, to keep projecting the image of an insider, at this point you should change your nick to Naplesrat o Zocculanapoletana

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      You were doing well until you said ‘neo-fascist’.

    • ursula says:

      No, actually based on recent Italian surveys, “mamma” comes a distant second.

  • Lachera says:

    An important detail getting lost: the whole thing was engineered by the government to get rid of Fuortes as head of RAI, the national state television, get a rightist as tv boss and compensate Fuortes with an opera job. Also, a major Italian conductor was very happy to get rid of Lissner as well. It looked like the perfect combination – if you were able to do the job; the devil was in the technicalities.

  • Edo says:

    It is simply a fantadtic farce! Not even Eduardo de Filippo could have thought something like this…

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Judging by the picture, they’ve appointed David Pleat.

  • Donna Pasquale says:

    I would imagine Nigel Farage would applaud this kind of law