Lissner-Scandal: Giuseppe Filianoti on Dec 7, 2008

🙂 Italy-Belcanto > Barenboim and La Scala > Stephane Lissner and La Scala
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JIWON: The only thing I know about this scandal. I remember to read this singer’s interview. “I wanted to save my voice during the rehearsal…”

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Please check
🙂 From Opera Chic: Giuseppe Filianoti

Filianoti’s Mark Feb 4, 2009
Comment-1: Mr Filianoti whose services were dispensed with for the evening of December 7th at Teatro all Scala for no reason other than to create a publicity scandal left Milan with his reputation intact. Given the low rent, welfare like, unspeakable behaviour so common to the La Scala management, his departure was the act of a true gentleman. I myself would have sued La Scala, the ridiculous Mayor of Milan, and anyone else who has to do with the senior ranks of the august theater today.

Comment-2: I’m glad the Met is endorsing Filianoti. The poor guy was fired from La Scala the day before the Don Carlo season opener and replaced with a no name. Now Filianoti can save the day.

Domingo On The Filianoti/Scala Mess: “If You Select A Singer You Have To Go All The Way” Dec 26, 2008
Comment-3: I have to wonder if La Scala is worth all the histronics that seem to occur there. Is it a house that is really as paranoid as it seems? I gather it is terrorized by the galleries and claques who often boo. Does this really enhance the performances and improve things or simply sow trouble and confusion?
Comment-4: Filianotti wasn’t bad at all as it seems in these videos, they made a mistake by firing him.

Filianoti As Don Carlo During General Rehearsal, Dec 4, 2008, Scala: Io la vidi Dec 10, 2008
Comment-5: Not horrible, not good, the voice is working too hard, Giuseppe needs different operas, not Verdi. Better belcanto, Mozart. Don Carlo is too heavy, too much. I hope he makes a return.
Comment-6: One small clip on utube and we all immediately knew that Filianoti was having trouble. It’s obvious. It took Gatti and Lisner two months to figure it out.
Comment-7: Mr Filianoti sang with beautiful, creamy, sonorus tones. The kind of tenor one waits a lifetime to hear. Very much in the spirit of early Di Stefano. My heart melted on the spot. IF I was to have given Gatti the benefit of the doubt, this excerpt sets a harsh light on the challenged taste of said conductor. If Gatti could find this sound wanting and could be coerced into replacing it with a second string nobody, he does not deserve the podium of La Scala anymore than Lissner should maintain his post at the helm. Incidental footnote fools the both of them are. Period.
Comment-8: I think Marcelo Alvarez could do a better job, but I did not find this all that bad. Certainly not bad enough to fire the guy. Not at all. What did Neill sound like?
Comment-9: It did sound forced, but not worth getting kicked out for, especially not with the added controversy/bad publicity/bad reputation/lawsuit/general headache they’ll get for it – but, you know they’ve walked into this whole mess with their eyes wide open. Fools!
Comment-10: I think, ALL singers and managers should unite and never agree to come to work at Scala. (until something changes). Both the audience there (with all the booing and yelling and disregarding the feelings/ dignity of the performers) and management (hiring then firing, and disregarding the feeling/ dignity of the performers) should PAY for their disgusting behavior. I say: SCIOPERO! STOP PERFORMING AT LA SCALA!!!!
Comment-11: Not the best, but maybe no reason to fire him…. the other guy, the Michelin Doll who can not put his head on the floor while he is down the floor next to Cedolins, was not so much better… and he looked REALLY awful…
Comment-12: If we look objectively at the very singular activities of La Scala over the past few years, I believe we can begin (as the illustrious Opera Chic continues to make evident) to formulate a fundamental theory to summarize these episodes: One could hypothesize that following Muti’s regime at the infamous Milanese theatre, the administration has been resorting to extremely devious and sensational antics (shall we hazard the term “scandal”) to ensure that not only will the institution itself be on the lips of all those within ear-reach of the news, but also as a way to guarantee an audience willing to lay out exorbitant amounts of money to witness the very foreseen “unplanned” scandal. It seems to me that, using current events as example, this may have had very little to do with Filianoti as a singer or individual, and could have been premeditated to the point where the administration felt that he was “expendable” after realizing some time into the rehearsal period that the young Giuseppe is not tailored to a role of this nature and, rather than risk having the audience bear a struggling vocalist (who is perhaps not of headlining stature preferred to those administrators) at the prima (which it seems they did anyway), they decided that the best way to make certain that this performance would be the talk of the international circuit and attended by those who could afford to, pulled the stunt that we have all been witness to. Or something like that. Merely a hypothesis.
Comment-13: I agree with Comment-7: And I think this role should be sung by a lyric tenor. Carlo is only 15 year old who has delicate mind. Luisotti would have molded this music to emphasize the beauty of his voice rather than forcing him to push his tender voice. Both Gatti and La Scala’s voice coach have seen his Don Carlo in Zurich. Then they should have known that he was, is, and will be a lyric tenor with beautiful touching voice that needs tender loving care. If Gatti wanted “conventional” kind of Don Carlo, so that the audience in La Scala will not boo him, then he should have asked for a dramatic tenor to do this part. Oh, in that case, he also should have got a proper Verdi baritone to sing Rodrigo as well.
Comment-14:: Florez has usually sung at La Scala at least once every year since the beginning of the century, if memory serves. But checking recently, aside from a recital in January 2007, he had no engagements there for the rest of 2007 or 2008 nor any for 2009. Could one suspect that he is leery of appearing at a house with the recent history of troubles that La Scala has had?
Comment-15: ok here with this cell phone sound and better as this replacement. lyrical approach is very much ok, may i remind 1970 domingo or 1977 carreras, in the then new junky 5 act version both condcted by abbado. la scala was always trouble inclluded and this will never change.
Comment-16:: ok here with this cell phone sound and better as this replacement. lyrical approach is very much ok, may i remind 1970 domingo or 1977 carreras, in the then new junky 5 act version both condcted by abbado. la scala was always trouble inclluded and this will never change.
Comment-17: nobody here seems to count the fact in that we are talking about the genereal rehearsal, where hardly any singer sings as good as he/she could! Counting this in I think he does not sound bad at all!

Don Carlo at La Scala…The Final Verdict Dec 9, 2008
Comment-18: In respect of Senior Filanoti we must say that while we certainly sympathize with his unfortunate predicament, we yet cannot help but agree with those who hold that it is very much his responsibility. He is a 34 year old man (we are pleased that this age is considered young in some quarters) with a lot of talent and apperantely a very bright future and it would seem that he should have had the judgement and the counsel to realize that he was biting of way more than he could properly masticate. While acknowledging what must have been the extraordinary temptations of participating in the Prima his decision do this seems most unfortunate.
Comment-19: With productions like this one, and an opera performed on opening night with B-category singers, how does La Scala continue to rank among the top houses in the world? Would you have messes like this at the Met or Covent Garden or in Vienna?

Tenor Filianoti To Be Officially Fired by Scala Management Later This Week Dec 8, 2008
Comment-20: The ineptitude of the management of Teatro alla Scala is a gift that just keeps giving. Lissner is incompetent. I marvel how I, gave the man such benefit of the doubt only a year ago, disregarding the more involved wisdom of Opera Chic. I refuse any longer to prefix his name in a gentlemanly fashion. (…) Ridiculous, inept all, who defile the great house with their presence on a daily basis. Mr. Filianoti would have a significant legal case against La Scala if they choose to continue down this stunning path of childish retribution.
Comment-21: I really feel sorry for Don Peppino. Why they did not give him a proper chance to prove himself at the prima…. sure he made mistake during the Prova, but he is professional singer who can adjust that at the prima. And I for one, would have being on the airplane by now to Milan for his Don Carlo, if he was not taken out.
Comment-22: If the intent of the management was to let him go in the fist place then, why delay further? Why the “hoopla” with vocal troubles etc.? I’m sure they didn’t prepare for this production within a week. So, if one party was not satisfied with the other then it was best if the cards were layed on the table so this upheaval could have been avoided.

Filianoti Goes Nuclear: “Scala Stabbed Me In The Back”!!! Dec 7, 2008
Comment-23: Whether Filianoti is an exceptional opera singer or not, it`s debatable but he has all the right to defend himself. So, I`m glad he`s speaking up and voicing out his opinion. The administration and organization of La Scala needs to be questioned and examined. I`m sure the theare were well aware of his vocal problems and inconsistencies in the past so why hire him for a heavy role in the first place? specially to a very high profiled event. There may reasons we don`t know but it is indeed very disrespectful to the artist regardless. Now, I wonder could this is a Muti curse?….ever since his exit, the theatre has had mostly troubles!
Comment-24: he’s right about the world’s best tenors staying away. Ian who? last year, Stuart who? this. La Scala shouldn’t even be thinking about the gnarlier works in the tenor rep if they can’t cast them.
Comment-25: If you have never taken voice lessons, if you have never been a professional singer, you cannot understand how difficult it is o be consistently good, all the time. Anyone heard X lately? He cracked, and he is God. He is still God, even if he had a bad night.
Comment-26: Omigod, it’s December 7 meaning it must be crisis time at La Scala. I agree with Angry Tenor. This is the most unforgiving of progressions. Looking forward to the reports, o intrepida.
Comment-27: If he is good enough to sing the ‘rest of the run’, why can’t he sing tonight and the following performance ? What is going on ? This is an awful position for Scala I think. I really feel sorry for this tenor as a human person like you and me and as an artist. I will watch ARTE in a few hours, feeling sad for him. Thanks OC for this well-informed article
Comment-28: I get the impression everyone is spinning furiously here to save face. Whether he’s indisposed or not, Filianoti doesn’t want to get the rep of the fragile tenor in crisis whose precarious health and voice make him unreliable. Contracts dry up in the glare of that kind of light. So he goes on the offensive against the theater, which has given him ample and plausible pretext by the way it has handled his substitution. La Scala itself doesn’t need another opening night artistic fiasco, so it’s willing to take the hit for being callous, even capricious– along with tacitly admitting it was a mistake to engage Filianoti in the first place. On this front they lose face, while at the same time saving face before an international audience tuning in via various media, given the likelihood that the tenor was about to crash & burn “in diretta.” As much as I have liked Filianoti in the past, as OC & others have pointed out, his recent performances have been more than troubling, including his first DON CARLO in Zurich this past September. Perhaps the forces that be at La Scala felt, based on their presence during that run, that with study & rest, Filianoti could pull it off. I believe he had no engagements between the Torino MEDEA in October and this Sant’ Ambrogio prima. So this was not some pipe dream on the part of La Scala. It didn’t work out, though. By all accounts, the dress rehearsal was the culmination of a downward trend in his singing the past month. Rather than be party to the tenor’s possible self-immolation and all its attendant scandal, the theater bit the bullet and removed Filianoti. They could have done it with more finesse, perhaps, but Filianoti could also have availed himself of the cover of “indisposition” and the whole thing would have ended there. Though he is justifiably ticked off by how this unfolded, I think Filianoti should use the episode to pause and take a long hard look at the state of his voice & technique and his choice of rep. At this point he reminds me of the successful middleweight whose handlers convince him he can compete with the heavyweights, maybe even compete for the title. They train him to that end only to see him mauled once he gets in the ring. All are faced with a choice: continue & risk permanent incapacity or return to the more appropriate weight class. Even when he was at his best Filianoti would have been challenged by Don Carlo IMHO. I don’t think anyone would say that the tenor has been at his best since his illness & surgery 2 years ago,

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Filianoti, cacciato dal Don Carlo: strega New York e attacca la Scala Feb 1, 2009
Filianoti, chased by Don Carlo: witch and attacked New York La Scala
Il tenore ha avviato una brillante carriera negi Stati Uniti. E accusa: “Spesso i teatri italiani sono diretti da incompetenti”
The content has started a brilliant career negi USA. E accusation: “Often the Italian theaters are run by incompetent”

Rinnegato dalla Scala, dove è stato cacciato all’ultimo minuto dal Don Carlo verdiano che ha aperto l’ultima stagione, il tenore Giuseppe Filianoti ha avviato una brillante carriera negi Stati Uniti. Il suo Duca in Rigoletto ha riscosso un ottimo successo al Metropolitan di New York, in una prestazione definita molto buona dal New York Times. Quella che Filianoti stesso ha definito “una pugnalata alle spalle” del maestro Daniele Gatti non ha minimamente compromesso la carriera del giovane tenore italiano, 35 anni, che al Met è apparso molto a suo agio.
Renegade from Scala, where he was kicked in the last minute by Verdi Don Carlo which opened last season, the tenor Giuseppe Filianoti launched a brilliant career negi USA. His Duke in Rigoletto was a great success at the Metropolitan in New York, in a performance as very good by the New York Times. Filianoti himself what he called a “stab in the back” of the maestro Daniele Gatti has minimally affected the career of the young Italian tenor, 35 years old, who appeared at the Met is very at ease.

“Filianoti – si legge sul New York Times – si è guadagnato molti ammiratori in occasione del suo debutto al Met nel 2005 nel ruolo di Edgardo nella Lucia di Lammermoor di Gaetano Donizetti. E le qualità che hanno distinto il suo lavoro allora sono emerse di nuovo” in Rigoletto. Il quotidiano sembra però dare ragione a Gatti, convinto che certi ruoli non sono ideali per Filianoti, “un esempio di tenore lirico che cerca di spingere la sua voce per ruoli più impegnativi. Don Carlo probabilmente sarebbe stato troppo per lui. Anche nel ruolo del Duca, che idealmente dovrebbe calzargli a pennello, egli ha in alcuni momenti forzato un po’ troppo la voce”.
“Filianoti – we read the New York Times – has gained many admirers during his debut at the Met in 2005 in the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti. And the qualities that have distinguished his work then emerged again “in Rigoletto. The newspaper seems to give a reason Gatti, believe that certain roles are not ideal for Filianoti, “an example of a lyric tenor who tries to push his voice to more demanding roles. Don Carlo was probably too much for him. Even in the role of Duke, which ideally should wear a brush, he has at times forced un po ‘troppo la voce. “

Filianoti rimane sereno e si gode il momento di gloria forte anche degli ingaggi americani. Teoricamente è ancora sotto contratto con la Scala, ma il tenore calabrese non vuole rivelare se tornerà o meno a cantare a Milano. A New York, ancora una volta senza peli sulla lingua, Filianoti ribadisce ciò che aveva dichiarato all’indomani della decisione di Gatti di sostituirlo con l’americano Stuart Neil. “Ciò che ha fatto La Scala – dice – è inqualificabile dal punto di vista umano. Aggiungo anche che spesso i teatri italiani sono diretti da incompetenti. Vorrei fare un test ai sovrintendenti e ai direttori artistici sulla loro conoscenza musicale, sono sicuro che più del 60 per cento non ne sa nulla. Forse sanno di business, ma non di musica”.
Filianoti remains calm and enjoy the moment of glory too strong for American engagements. Theoretically it is still under contract with La Scala, but the tenor calabrese not want to reveal whether or not return to sing in Milan. In New York, once again, without hair on the tongue, Filianoti reiterates what he had said after the decision to replace it with Cats American Neil Stuart. “What did La Scala – says – it is disgraceful from a human point of view. I also say that often the Italian theaters are run by incompetent. I would do a test to superintendents and directors of art on their musical knowledge, I am sure that more than 60 percent do not know anything. Maybe they know the business, but not music. “

E rincara la dose sul sovrintendente Stephane Lissner: “Che può importare a un francese della situazione italiana? Lui pensa a portare i soldi a casa, ma in questo modo si danneggia una tradizione italiana”. (01 febbraio 2009)
It crowns the dose Superintendent Stephane Lissner: “What can import to a Frenchman of Italian situation? He thinks to bring the money home, but this fails an Italian tradition.”

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Domingo: «Passione per Puccini Così diventai un eroe della lirica» Dec 21, 2008 / By Corriere della Sera
Domingo: “A passion for Puccini So I became a hero of the opera”
The master-level, 222 times in the role of Cavaradossi ‘will return to La Scala. The tormented before Don Carlo? Replacement Filianoti mistakes have been made ‘
(…) Master, what do you think of Don Carlo plagued the ‘first’ Scala and for all Filianoti ‘last time?
“I respect it closely.
Filianoti was scheduled to sing Lucrezia Borgia at ‘my’ Washington National Opera but he then asked me to free him in order to accept la Scala’s proposal for December 7. The mistake was to organize that preview for the students that critics have been allowed to see. Someone said that singers were so-so and the conductor got scared and chose to replace the tenor. I don’t want to criticize the general manager but if you selected a singer you have to go all the way, maybe someone will boo, but your decision is your decision. A bad moment for Filianoti. He had a contract with us, why did they even contact him? Having said that, I really hope to have Filianoti back to the USA; I will be back to Italy next season to celebrate my 40 years at la Scala with Simon Boccanegra”

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A General Theory of the Latest Scala Drama: Why Management Is Trying To Blame Filianoti For The Boos That Sunk Don Carlo’s Opening Night Dec 8, 2008 / By Opera Chic

A few interesting facts re: this Don Carlo drama before bedtime (it’s almost dawn here, seriously: too late for champagne, too early for cappuccino, might as well go to bed).

The freshly-demoted Giuseppe Filianoti was present at Scala tonight, not on stage obviously but in a third-level box (together with other friends/relatives of cast members, among them his replacement Stuart Neill’s girlfriend). He left after Act I.
• The boos — over here, a whistle is never just that, there must be like a whole conspiracy behind it or the Italians just don’t have as much fun — ruined what had been hyped as the first Dec 7th Opening Night conducted by the frequent guest conductor whom most observers consider the front runner to get, eventually, one day in a not so distant future, the coveted job of Music Director of la Scala (as we mentioned earlier, a post previously held, these last 75 years, by Serafin, de Sabata, Toscanini, Giulini, Cantelli, Abbado, Muti).
Scala GM Lissner came out clearly, right after the show, with unusually undiplomatic words: “The boos? Clearly the payback for the Filianoti situation, in the opera house it is well known”. Meaning that it was an organized protest to undermine Gatti “guilty” of having de facto fired Filianoti, even if technically the tenor’s still under contract, but his schedule has been reshuffled with Stuart Neill’s — now Filianoti is demoted to second cast (the smart money says he won’t appear in any shows with the second cast, leaving open the question, and the additional drama, of who will be hired on such short notice to complete the run as Don Carlo with the second cast).

The conspiracy theory that supposes Filianoti somehow orchestrated an anti-Gatti riot by egging dozens of spectators on, convincing them to boo, etc, is made less easy to believe by the fact that booing and whistling were quite widespread — not massive but certainly not the work of a few hit men.

It also remains to be seen how would someone like Filianoti, a singer only occasionally present here and not exactly the most powerful man in the Italian opera business, would manage to infiltrate so many accomplices in the theater on a night when tickets are incredibly scarce, monstrously expensive, by and large given out to sponsors and VIPs, and even cast members get just a few tickets — in some cases just one ticket! — for friends and family to the Sant’Ambrogio opening night. Again, it’s not impossible to fill the stalls with a personal claque, obviously — not impossible but very complicated on Dec 7th of all nights.

An alternative hypothesis if you’re conspiracy-minded is that a spontaneous movement of spectators moved by Filianoti’s plight chose to boo Gatti in unison without having been somehow influenced by the singer or his entourage. Impossible? No. Very Likely? Bah.

If this conspiracy theory were true it would obviously leave the management and Gatti off the hook, erasing the painful fact that la Scala, in the post-Muti era, has had four Dec 7th opening nights — Idomeneo/Bondy/Harding in ’05, Aida/Zeffirelli/Chailly in ’06, Tristan Und Isolde/Chereau/Barenboim in ’07 and Don Carlo/Braunschweig/Gatti — and this Don Carlo is by far the one that got booed the most — even the Zeffirelli Aida, the one with Alagna (before he fled on the second night he regularly performed on Dec 7), didn’t get as many catcalls, except for Alagna. Only Gatti, very likely the future Music Director — if and when GM Lissner decides to give up some of his considerable power by sharing command of the place — got such a bad reaction. Again, Opera Chic herself liked his work. But she can see why people would honestly find his conducting too uneven — those speed changes — and his vision of the score too unorthodox (the last two conductors who led Don Carlo here were Abbado in the 1970s and Muti in the 1990s, and both gave a much more even and conservative reading of the score).

Gatti — whom Opera Chic personally liked and applauded heartily, as you can read in the post below — is not the only one who got booed tonight, but on curtain call a nice chunk of the cast got hit by whistles and boos, too (not Zajick, OK); director Braunschweig and his team got a pretty good share of whipping, too.

Now the question is, did tne director — whom Filianoti praised in his post-demotion interviews with two newspapers — get booed also as “payback” by Filianoti loyalists? By Gatti enemies? Really? The costume design lady, too? Sets? What about the seriously underperforming Grande Inquisitore, were the boos he had to endure at curtain call an act of payback to hit Gatti and sink the prima?

It’s Opera Chic’s right as an American to find all this drama here both entertaining and appalling.

Maybe the Scala management is right, maybe this all happened because Gatti was a marked man, and people wanted to damage his profile and reputation to undermine him.

Maybe, his reading of the score was just too unpalatable for many (on this point OC disagrees) and the singing was substandard for such a big night (here OC agrees) and the staging really was just too drab and didn’t really make any dramatic sense.

This analysis — for full disclosure, as you can read in these last two days posts on this blog — comes from someone who’s really not a partisan here, from someone who would not have hired Filianoti in the first place, who thinks Filianoti has been treated very shabbily and in a manner unbecoming a world class opera house, from someone who generally likes Gatti and liked his work with the orchestra (not with the singers) tonight, and who thinks Braunschweig’s work as director of Don Carlo was just dry, unfocused, and essentially forgettable.

Lots more on this Don Carlo with lots of pictures, reviews, conspiracy theories, and the usual in depth Opera Chic coverage tomorrow.

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Filianoti Goes Nuclear: “Scala Stabbed Me In The Back”!!! Dec 7, 2008 / By Opera Chic

In today’s Corriere della sera, Giuseppe Filianoti goes nuclear, slamming Scala management who announced to him that he wouldn’t sing the first two performances of Don Carlo, both tonight and on the 10th. And he accuses conductor Daniele Gatti of having betrayed him. He also insists that since he hasn’t been fired, he’ll show up tonight at the opera house to sing as scheduled (creepy echoes of the Alagna fiasco from 2006): “It will be my farewell to la Scala”. All translations copyright Opera Chic Blog. Don’t be sneaking…we see you…

“I have been betrayed by la Scala, stabbed in the back at the last minute. Last night they told me I wouldn’t sing the premiere. They want to tell the world I’m sick, but I’m not. I’m perfectly fine, ready to tackle a role I feel confident about.”

“What happened? I’d like to know, too. We have been rehearsing for two months. I’ve always sung in full voice and everybody has been very encouraging: Gatti, general manager Lissner, my colleagues. Everything seemed to be OK. Then, after the general rehearsal of the other night, open to students, Gatti began to have doubts. Why was I underpowered, why did I lack focus, why did I screw up a couple passaggi… Gatti decided only days ago to reintroduce the Lacrymosa at the end of Act III (ed: Verdi wrote 58 measures that he later pulled out of the final score to use in a later work– they’re now world famous as the Lacrymosa of the Requiem, almost no conductor reinstates it in Don Carlo) and that’s where I admit I made a mistake. It’s not enough to consider me unfit. It was also a general rehearsal, I wasn’t committed 100% vocally. I wanted to save my energy for la prima”.

“I sung this role in Zurich this past September, Gatti and Targetti (ed: the scala voice coach) heard me there and were very encouraging, ‘You are the best, we’ll do a wonderful work together,’ they said. I was happy. I canceled commitments for Thais in Turin and a Lucrezia Borgia with Domingo in Washington, Pelleas in Rome… But you never refuse la Scala. I sung the Prima in 2003, Moise et Pharaon with Muti… different times… I miss Muti, la Scala back then would never have treated an artist like this, Muti protects his singers, always.”

“I didn’t expect such treatment from Gatti. Yesterdays they called me for a meeting, they said they didn’t want to embarrass me in front of the whole world. They said they’ll declare me to be ‘sick’ and to have more credibility, they’ll pull me from la prima and the second night. I’ll be able to sing the rest of the run, they said. For my own good, they said. They’re not firing me, they just reshuffling my dates around.”

“I can defend myself. I’m not a rookie. My nerves are fine. My voice, too. Gatti projected his fears on to me. I’m not afraid. I’m from Calabria, I’m tough, I’m 34, I have contracts all over the world… the Met… Barenboim for Verdi… The audience booing is part of the game in opera, the greatest singers ever have been booed, Callas, Pavarotti. It’s not just me: tonight even Matti Salminen (ed: as announced yesterday by Opera Chic) will not be there… He’s a great bass, ‘sick’ as well! An outbreak. The reality is this administration at Scala only cares about business.”

“People at la Scala know me since I was a kid. I sang here many times, Falstaff, Armide, Nina pazza per amore… I know everybody. Everybody is stunned. It’s impossible, they said. The director hugged me, he said he couldn’t understand, he was desperate. He’s a very sensitive man. He’s in trouble. Stuart Neill, who will replace me, doesn’t have Don Carlo’s physique. Lots of singers have fought with la Scala… Marcelo Alvarez, Alagna, now me. The world’s best tenors stay away from here, there must be a reson. I’ll never be back here as long as they’ll keep acting this way. But tonight I’ll come to the theater, I have not been fired. They won’t allow me to go on stage, obviously. It will be my farewell”.

Opera Chic’s take? She understands Filianoti’s terrible dilemma — regardless of his vocal health, he couldn’t take this demotion quietly. Just couldn’t. He’s right to try to spin things this way. His future is at stake.

As OC wrote last night, they shouldn’t have hired him. Fighting with Marcelo Alvarez has been a very dumb move. They needed someone like Marcellone. But once you hire Filianoti, warts and all, with his known history of past vocal trouble and his known history of trying to tackle heavier roles — he’s a tenore lirico — with mixed results, well, you can’t hire Filianoti because he has name recognition and then dump him 24 hours before the premiere. It just isn’t done. It’s not respectful. And singers everywhere now know this could happen to them, too, under this management.

If they really figured out 24 hours before the premiere that Filianoti was in trouble, after everybody’s doubts in the past year, and after weeks of reports of Filianoti’s trouble during reherasals, well, what does that tell you about the organization there?

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