This past February, Scala GM Stéphane Lissner had slammed in the Italian press the Vienna Staatsoper (Munich, too) "where they don't rehearse as much and this has recently been the cause of substandard shows".
Not to be upstaged in this childish pointless foodfight, instead of letting it slide, Ioan Holender -- Vienna's Staatsoper director -- shot back with all the ammo he could find:
"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".
Nine months of frozen silence between the two managers followed; but now, in a honorable attempt to patch things up, Lissner has invited Holender to la Scala for the Dec. 7 prima of Don Carlo.
If unruly unions sink the show (Opera Chic wouldn't bet on it, even last year's Tristan was similarly threatened and the wildly overpriced show -- that makes la Scala about 2 million euros in a single night -- regularly went on), Herr Holender will have the chance to go shopping in the Quadrilatero and sample himself some tasty seasonal Milanese cuisine (cassoeula a special favorite of the pork-eating gourmets here).