Today's weekly newsmagazine of Corriere della Sera carries an explosive interview with former La Scala General Manager (and Riccardo Muti nemesis), Mr. Carlo Fontana, now a Senator. In the magazine (not online, sorry!), Fontana savagely blasts Muti, saying, "He stabbed me in the back".
Muti, we have to remember, was a bitter opponent of Fontana's decisions during their shared time at Teatro alla Scala: Muti had accused Fontana of several offenses, mainly of "dumbing down" La Scala's programs, and eventually managed to have Fontana removed in early 2005, placing Muti loyalist, Mauro Meli, in Fontana's post. However, weeks later, Muti himself had to resign under pressure from the orchestra. And so the orchestra managed to effectively fire Muti, the way they had fired Claudio Abbado twenty years before. Here's the translation of the important quotes between Corriere and Carlo Fontana:
Carlo Fontana: "I would have loved to re-create with Muti the kind of relationship I had with my mentor Paolo Grassi and with Giorgio Strehler: the men who created Piccolo Teatro in Milan".
Corriere: "And what happened instead?"
Carlo Fontana: "Instead Muti stabbed me in the back".
Corriere: "This is an exaggeration: you and Muti might simply have had different opinions about what mattered for La Scala."
Carlo Fontana: "I've always given priority to the artists. Muti and I agreed on the things to do for many years. Together we decided to bring back to Milan the great opera of melodramma popolare. I often stepped back to please him, and I greenlighted ideas that didn't really convince me. I always considered him a great conductor..."
Carlo Fontana: "But when Muti thought that he and I were too much in disagreement, he avoided a direct confrontation, and he didn't come to me to talk about it and...".
Corriere: "...and He attacked. Who helped him?"
Carlo Fontana: "Some members of the board, the then-Mayor, Gabriele Albertini. I had a good relationship with Albertini during his first term in office. He, together with Riccardo De Corato, helped the Teatro alla Scala renovation project a lot. But then Albertini began to take orders from Muti and from other powerful entities..."
After blasting Muti, Fontana (who has a book out) finds the time to slam another Opera Chic Aficionado, Roberto Alagna. When asked about his favorite tenors he answers (OMG edgy!) "Easy, Domingo and Pavarotti". And then, asked to choose a tenor he'd happily throw out of the theatre, Fontana happily answers: "Roberto Alagna".
I'm sure Angela will kick Fontana's a$$ very soon. If we were him, we'd be worried!