It's unusual to see such public vitriol at such high levels, even in the famously snarky world of opera.
A few days ago Scala GM Stéphane Lissner had snarked, in the press, Vienna and Munich, "where they don't rehearse as much and this has recently been the cause of substandard shows", in Italian "spettacoli di basso livello", literally translated as "low-level shows". "A Vienna ho visto un Don Giovanni di assoluta routine. Per il signor Holender non è mai troppo tardi per imparare", Lissner told Italian paper La Stampa: "In Vienna I saw a substandard Don Giovanni. For Mr. Holender is never too late to learn".
Yesterday Ioan Holender, Vienna's Staatsoper director has shot back with surprising vitriol, as reported in today's papers.
"This (attack) is unprecedented between opera houses: it is very embarrassing to engage in a dispute with someone who cannot read music but I understand Lissner needs to distract the Italian press from what is happening -- or better yet, not happening -- at la Scala".
"To cancel a new production (ed: the Andrea Chenier Opera Chic wrote extensively about) because the director and almost all of the cast have vanished is quite unusual and unbelievable for a opera house. With such attacks against my work Lissner disqualified himself, since he knows that I have been leading for 16 years the glorious Vienna opera with more than 60 operas in repertoire and more than 300 shows every season. Monsieur Lissner's envy is understandable when one sees that these days on the Vienna podium we have Christian Thielemann, Seji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti and Zubin Mehta, who are among the world's greatest conductors. They are not at la Scala where, unfortunately, there is only Lissner: this is sad".
If we were Brits, we'd totally say: Blimey Guv'nor!