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Music Pages

New music director confirmed at La Scala

11 December 2013, Milan, Italy

Riccardo Chailly
Riccardo Chailly(Photo: Gert Mothes)

In an announcement made by Giuliano Pisapia, Mayor of Milan, the trustees of Teatro alla Scala have confirmed the appointment of Riccardo Chailly as the opera house’s new music director from 2017.

Chailly’s name was originally put forward by Alexander Pereira, newly appointed general director of La Scala, who takes up his post at the end of 2014. Confirmation of the appointment has ended months of speculation over who might take over as the head of Italy’s most prestigious and controversial performing arts institution.

The news comes as the European opera world embarks on a round of musical chairs, with La Scala’s current general director, Stephan Lissner, becoming boss of Paris Opera at the end of this season. Meanwhile Pereira is leaving the Salzburg Festival in Austria to take up his role in Milan.  La Scala’s current music director, Daniel Barenboim, quits Milan at the end of the 2014 opera season after conducting Beethoven’s Fidelio at La Scala next December. Barenboim will be focusing on his extensive international conducting and performing commitments as well as continuing in his role as music director at the Berlin State Opera.

Currently music director of the renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, 60-year-old Chailly will become La Scala’s principal guest conductor from next year until his full-time appointment in 2017.  His arrival in Milan should allay fears that La Scala’s regime change could plunge the theatre into another period of instability. Indeed, his appointment signals continuity, since he once worked under Claudio Abbado during one of the most glittering eras in La Scala’s history, and made his opera-conducting debut at the house in 1978.

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