Verbal fight at La Scala opening night

A verbal fight broke out between two big names at La Scala’s opening night of Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco on 7 December. While the show itself was a success, Belgian director Moshe Leiser was recorded shouting abuse at conductor Riccardo Chailly.

La Scala

‘I’m here, congratulations maestro, really congratulations,’ said Leiser, before bellowing ‘asshole.’ Leiser then adds ‘stronzo di merda [piece of shit].’

The outburst was recorded by Rai Radio 3 and published on La Repubblica’s website. Chailly left La Scala without speaking to the media and did not attend the official dinner.

‘It happens a lot of times that conductors and directors have different points of view and this time unfortunately there was a microphone,’ said La Scala spokesperson Paolo Besana. ‘It’s a pity because it was a huge success for both the musical part and staging.’

The confrontation threatens to overshadow the show itself, which was well received, and went ahead in spite of original fears that it could be the subject of a terrorist attack.

La Scala’s latest drama comes just weeks after management and technicians finally resolved their differences. Technicians went on strike in November, causing a performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon to be cancelled. They had threatened to strike again on the opening night of Giovanna d’Arco before an agreement was reached.

Giovanna d’Arco stars Francesco Meli as Carlo VII, Anna Netrebko as Giovanni, Devid Cecconi as Giacomo, Dmitry Beloselskiy as Talbot and Michele Mauro as Delil.