No way. Milan is hit since February 21, 2020, from the “plague”. Only two months of excessive freedom, July and August, and on September still back again with the number of increasing infections by Covid-19. The outbreak in Milan boosted with no control in November, with a dreadful number of dead people +70% of the normal average of that period in the year before. Covid-19, through its immense power of destruction reigned again for the Autumn and now the starting winter season.
There is no aim to ascribe responsibilities and guilts in writing all what it could have been done earlier, in these Summer months. The well know fable of the Cicada and The Ant by Aesop well depicts what’s happened during these lost months of time: it concerns a cicada that has spent the summer enjoying singing, and teasing the ant since it was hard working and not enjoying the music and the sunshine. The ant, silently, kept on working to store up food for winter. When that season arrives, the ant finds itself dying of hunger and begs the ant for food. However, the ant rebukes its idleness and tells it to dance the winter away now. And we are dancing outside while the Covid-19 is taking our lives, both from a physical and psychological point of view.
In Milan since 1951, there is a very important tradition: on December 7, the day of Saint Ambrosius, protector of the City, the opening season of La Scala, on the most celebrated opera and ballet theatre all over the world opens its season. Tickets for la premiere are out of reach for how much they cost, but the good thing is that the opera is always broadcasted at an International level and therefore is accessible to everybody. For us citizen of Milan, is quite an event, and for myself who adore opera, is a gift. Everything stop on that day, we are wearing evening clothes even at home, and we watch the opera. This is a ritual which has been going for at least twenty year as far as I can remember.
Quite grotesque in evening frock for watching TV? Well, we just enjoy it.
Coming back to this year, there should have been the opening with the Lucia di Lamermoor as opera… but Covid hit: there was on outbreak of Covid right among the choir’s members of La Scala: la soiree risked to be cancelled in a city which lives of culture and that for almost one year could not open theatres, museums, exhibitions, cinemas. Well, direction was changed in one week and in twenty-one days a little miracle was done thanks to the world cooperation of artists coming from every parts of the world: the director Davide Livermore has woven among opera’s arias, ballets, digital scenes and readings of poetries and philosophers. Three hours of show, named “A riveder le stelle”, Back to see the stars again, the last sentence told by Dante when together with Virgilio, when they get out of the Inferno, and the dome of the sky is finally over their heads. Milan in this metaphoric journey before allowing to see the stars again (not only the victory over Covid) has to cross the evil and the victims on opera characters: La maledizione, The curse, when Rigoletto curses all noble and indifferent politicians, the women who dies because of their lack of freedom (Traviata), of betrayals (Madama Butterfly), or of power abuse (Tosca).
To rest among this political artistic kermess, Roberto Bolle dances on the Gymnopedie of Satie, a lullaby, where the sound becomes more spiritual than ever. Three hours, with an extraordinary ending, the known Nessun Dorma and the surprising Guglielmo Tell final choir with the scenes in the back taken from a drone of Milan, its empty, enlightened streets, the Duomo, the spiers, and the Madoninna, the Golden Mary. And last image the Theatre La Scala.
We cried in the end. Lonely but not alone in our houses, friends connected through zoom, it was a cathartic crying, over the political injustice the mystery of this disease, the hope given by the beauty of the images and the music. For the first time we thought that Milan could make it again, but more than this that freedom was there to grasp again, a more responsible freedom for the human kind. Get out of the dark to Riveder Le Stelle.
Here is the link
Please, skip the first 10 minutes, for your sake: unfortunately, you would stumble in two politically correct showmen of the current “regimen”, that, although in Covid age, could not be reallocated to another job.
Enjoy the Music Director, Riccardo Chailly, the singers, the dancers, and above all the Directions of the Scenes, Davide Livermore.