It wouldn't be La Scala without cries of dissension, but when Corriere della Sera last week outed Riccardo Chailly as La Scala's incoming MD (for an outward-bound Barneboim), the orchestra's grumbles out-grumbled everyone.
Chailly had been earmarked for ages as Scala's MD even before the press leak (hello...2006?), but the orchestra's musicians are actively shelving the Gewandhaus director's name (via an internal referendum) for Fabio Luisi. They're not so much divided on the Chailly election (although they fear that Chailly's prominence abroad and his fat Decca contract could interfere with the theater's artistic choices and inflate salaries), but more displeased that they were omitted from the decision (and if you want to know the orchestra's sway, just ask Muti.)
The Chailly announcement followed recent meetings among Scala superpowers (including Milan's mayor/Scala's president Pisapia who hasn't denied the decision and is said to endorse Chailly 100%) as well as one with the orchestra's artistic committee, where it's rumored that incoming Intendant Pereira announced Chailly's directorship bound by a seven-year contract.
History repeats itself...
Let's go back to 2005, right after Stéphane Lissner took over as intendant after Riccardo Muti's thorny departure. Back then, Daniele Gatti (who OC had always heard was the incoming MD, for more reasons than just being Pereira's BFF -- reason 1, 2 and 3) and Riccardo Chailly (and Myung-Whun Chung before his unfortunate flameout) were frontrunners.
Gatti was considered a sure thing until that disastrous 2008 Don Carlo (check it). And a few years earlier, Chailly's lock-in was marred by the 2006 Aida Alagna circus. Scala kept setting them up and knocking them down until Lissner promoted Barenboim from Principal Guest Conductor to MD. While the rumors swirl, go here for a 2007 round-up of the Gatti/Chailly MD rumors.