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La Scala tour showcases Milan’s finest

by Chiho Iuchi

La Scala is currently on its sixth Japan tour through Sept. 17.

Inaugurated in 1778, Milan’s La Scala opera house has been a legend in the opera world.

Since its first visit to Japan in 1981, La Scala’s performances have fascinated opera fans, leading to repeated tours.

The current Japan tour features two renowned operas, both composed by Italian Giuseppe Verdi. “Aida” and “Don Carlo” both tackle father-son conflicts as well as political-religious confrontations. “Aida,” which was conducted by Argentine-born maestro Daniel Barenboim, marked La Scala’s 100th performance in Japan on Sept. 4.

Now “Don Carlo” is on stage under the baton of rising Italian conductor Daniele Gatti. The story tells of the tragic love of Don Carlo for Elizabeth, who becomes the wife of his father, Spain’s King Philip II.

The production, directed by France’s Stephane Braunschweig, focuses on human drama and pursues more stylish stage techniques than La Scala’s typically gorgeous, grandiose settings.

During a press conference held at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo last week, Gatti answered a question pertaining to the piece remarking: “Musicians should express through performance rather than explaining in advance. I do love the work ‘Don Carlo’ so much. I think the core of Verdi’s work is in the inner feelings.”

The performers are top-rate singers, including Ramon Vargas (tenor), Rene Pape (bass) and Barbara Frittoli (soprano).

“Don Carlo” will be held at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno on Sept. 12, 13 and 17 at 3 p.m., Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. Tickets cost from ¥29,000 to ¥59,000. For more information, call (03) 3791-8888 or visit www.nbs.or.jp/english/