Last month, Fabio Luisi, The Metropolitan Opera's Principal Guest Conductor from the 2010-11 season, had been also named Principal Conductor of Genoa's glorious Teatro Carlo Felice; shortly thereafter, it was revealed that the opera house's finances were in much, much worse shape than everybody was led to first believe.
In a recent interview with "la Repubblica", the Genovese maestro had much to say about the financial crisis of the theater, which came as a surprise in its severity. Luisi's appointment, which was the result of his willingness to help Carlo Felice, was tied to certain conditions and programing that never materialized. Of course, he'll help Genova and Carlo Felice in whatever means that they'd ask for his help, but without an Artistic Director and without the prospect of immediate programming, a figure like a Principal Conductor in this moment would be a premature, unnescessary choice.
He went on to say that he's willing to help Carlo Felice as much as he can, but without a firm contract, it's impossible to keep oneself "on call" all the time. Regardless, he'll make himself available for the theater's needs as early as this October and also has batted around the idea of a New Year's Concert.
Continue reading after the jump for Maestro Luisi's ideas to help Carlo Felice out of the economic crisis and what he thinks about the state of Italian opera [all translations OC's kthnxbi].
Maestro Luisi's ideas on digging oneself out of the economic crisis? He states that he's not really one that has a passion for economics or finance. But unlike a company or a factory, a theater only makes sense in their mission when they're producing "goods" that are of sound intellectual, educational, and spiritual value. But keeping that in mind, it's also important for a theater to be on a balanced budget and in good fiscal standing. However, when a theater stops producing high quality art, it loses its reason to exist.
Question: You work mainly abroad in positions of high prestige. How do you see from the outside this current situation that affects Italian culture?
"It hurts to say it, but it's almost non-existent. We love and appreciate our Italian artists, many of them part of an international excellence. But Italy as a fertile breeding ground to produce music -- aside from La Scala, Santa Cecilia and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and aside from Italian theaters that go abroad (like when Teatro Regio di Torino goes to Japan) -- doesn't steal the spotlight of the international music scene like it should or it could. Instead, we find only surprise and skepticism concerning the crisis that plagues the Italian opera theaters, especially the measures taken by the government."
When asked about his "recipe" for helping out Carlo Felice? Although he does'nt have a specific recipe, you can't just wish a theater into good standing. You must make action. It's a mistake to halt production or close down a theater during these times of crisis. It sends a bad message that a city can indeed live without an opera theater. It's not acceptable. And even worse, it's not fair to the workers and artists who have devoted their lives to opera.