"Teatro alla Scala's door is closed to Corriere's critic Paolo Isotta" heads the letter editorial published in today's Corriere della Sera, signed by the Milan daily newspaper's director, Ferruccio De Bortoli.
Di Bortoli elegantly-whiteknights Corriere della Sera's longtime music critic -- the Neapolitan scholar, author, journalist and notorious crankypants Paolo Isotta -- who has been banned by La Scala's out-bound intendant, Stéphane Lissner.
Lissner dropped the banhammer following Isotta's enduring criticisms of Daniel Harding and (indirectly) of Claudio Abbado, outlined in a letter sent to Corriere in late October, 2011.
De Bortoli writes that the ban is a smokescreen of La Scala's true problems and defends and praises Isotta, calling the Italian critic extraordinary, intelligent and unpredictable, who understands music better than his Scala detractors. Here's an extract (in Opera Chic's own translation):
Isotta’s no stranger to excess -- editors are also in charge of getting writers to calm down -- but he's an extraordinary, intelligent and unpredictable critic who knows music better than his Scala detractors who think that all praise is due to them, all criticism is suspect and every artist’s whim is legitimate. Lissner wrote me in October 2011 -- something I doubt that he would have done with the press in his own country, but then he maybe considers us a colony -- asking for Isotta’s head.
Isotta's provocative, razor-sharp reviews, buttressed by Latin phrases, are hotly contested and equally coveted among Milan’s classical music fetishists. Corriere can still draw from its excellent cache of classical music reviewers, but Corriere without Isotta's backend knowledge and ruthless wit frankly sucks.
Since the beginning of the year, Isotta's called-out Harding's Verdi Falstaff as "heavy and pedantic" and said that his Wagner with Filarmonica della Scala was so soft that it made one think of a "Wagner omosessuale". Isotta's swag levels are *thunderclouds roll in, howling wind licks at his bespoke Marinella suit* officially too fabulous for La Scala.