(An overview of Piazza del Duomo last night for the free outdoor concert...you can see the large white bandshell on the left, which is where the orchestra resided.)
Georges Prêtre and Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala gave the show that was promised last night in the middle of Piazza del Duomo, despite the ensuing rain, the carrying-on of la maratona dello sport (another "non holiday" notte bianca where the city boasts all night parties), and the circling of pesky helicopters. Staging a concerto all’aperto is really tricky business, but the orchestra handled it well...item in gr8 condition A+++ would do bidness again.
OC was one of the luckier ones in the VIP section, which meant we were away from the crowds held back by the iron stanchions, sitting sweetly on plastic chairs, sipping free champagne cocktails, getting foot massages from il corpo di ballo della Scala, and Barenboim was on hand to make everyone little balloon animals. ok, well just kidding about those last three details.
The front of the stage had been done-up nicely in a green/white/red stripe combo (DONT ASK ME WH?Y), with olive leaves, and white/red carnations. Georges Prêtre led the Filarmonica with his adorable baton jabs, looking like everyone's favorite grandpa. He was all smiles and good times, and the humidity made his hair all fluffy in the back like a little messy lamb.
The program began with Fratelli d'Italia, Inno Nazionale Italiano (the Italian National Anthem), and everyone stood at attention. As we sat down, immediately came a thunderous rendition (the orchestra was hooked-up to microphones) of Bizet’s Carmen Overture, followed by: a Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana intermezzo; Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri overture; a Puccini Manon Lescaut intermezzo; and Verdi's La Forza del Destino overture. It held-off raining until the next work, and began drizzling right in the middle of Gershwin's An American in Paris. By the time Ravel's Boléro had started, it was a harder drizzle, and umbrellas came out and hoods went up.
After the final applause, Prêtre and Filarmonica ran the hell out of there like the stage was on fire. Good on them. I mean, c'mon, we couldn't even clap, clutching umbrellas and Barenboim’s little balloon dogs. I vote for more outdoor concerts: La Scala, it’s time to ^*_*^||pay it forward||^*_*^