Not Gatti. Violetta. Although up against La Scala's grizzly loggionisti, only the foolhardy (or arrogant) would shun redemption. Think buoyant. Calm & confident, 007 in Brioni, a martini in one hand and a baton in the other.
As the Milanese maestro dusts off his Traviata white tie for his second Sant'Ambrogio Teatro alla Scala season opener, let's take a moment to remember that spectacular 2008 Don Carlos meltdown when Filianoti was replaced overnight and Gatti was turned into a piñata. Want to kill/time/travel? Linkage here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Gatti knows what he's up against and he's seen firsthand an opera house soured and bitter as Campari. Yesterday he spoke to Il Giornale and said that he was up to the challenge of Traviata, notoriously sacred to the loggionisti: "Lots of people have asked me, why the hell would you do something like this? My morality makes me do it. It seems like it's impossible to pull off, but instead I consider it a gift from the heavens [...] I'm going to conduct it like 'Mr.Gatti' would, end-of-story. It'll be an intimate Traviata, both in setting and in the numbers of onstage characters."
On Violetta (to be sung by Damrau), he sees her as someone who's suffered an injustice and is looking for salvation. Although she chooses to frequent a certain type of environment, she still wants to save herself and has aspirations to have a husband and kids. He thinks that Alfredo (to be sung by Beczala) is honest, sincere, a bit naive, provincial and doesn't know how to keep his promises.
Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Italy, Riccardo Muti's had his hands full as Teatro dell'Opera di Roma peacekeeper. Strikes and grumbles was last week's news, but tomorrow his Ernani will bow the new season, as originally scheduled, in a Hugo de Ana production with Francesco Meli in the title role.