Haben Sie die Mailänder Scala eigentlich als künstlerische Konkurrenz betrachtet?
Nein, was die machen, kann man nicht ernst nehmen. Denken Sie nur mal an diesen unsäglichen "Simone Boccanegra", der schon in Berlin zu erleben war. Sawallisch hat immer gesagt, wir sind alle erpressbar. Genau das ist aber falsch. Verzichten muss man können. Das ist alles!
Did you consider Milan's Scala as an actual artistic competitor?
No, what they do I cannot take seriously. Just think of that unspeakale Simon Boccanegra, that had already been seen in Berlin. Sawallisch used to say that we are all vulnerable to blackmail. It's not true. You have to be able to say no. This is all.
Holender is, of course, the same dude who made cruel fun of Stéphane Lissner, la Scala's GM, because he can't read music.
In all fairness, a few conductors Opera Chic has heard at la Scala clearly couldn't read music either, so it's not just the General Manager!
But the "blackmail" part of the answer is interesting and touches a very important point: la Scala is indeed a victim of blackmail -- by politicians (the central government seems to have lost patience for the opera house while its role remains central in Milan politics and power plays), by the unions that are basically running the theater, by the agencies that somehow magically manage to place second and third rate singers in an opera house that on paper is still first rate (and certainly keeps paying first rate fees and therefore first rate commissions).
The absence of a Music Director -- and the invisible presence of a Guest Conductor who's almost never there -- don't seem to help either.