Strike cancels Vienna State Opera concert in Milan

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Trade unionists at La Scala opera house in Milan on Friday announced a strike that will force the cancellation of next week's much-awaited performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fidelio" by the prestigious Vienna Staatsoper.

The performance on September 9 would have marked a renewal in traditional exchanges between La Scala and the Staatsoper and would have seen the Italian opera perform in Vienna on the same day and the same time that the Austrian opera performed in Milan.

But two unions at La Scala -- Cgil and Uil -- said they were going ahead with the strike because of proposed changes to staff contracts announced earlier this year.

They said that La Scala's management had proved "unreliable" in negotiations over contract alterations and had shown "the extremes of an anti-union attitude".

The last exchange between the two world-famous opera houses goes back to 1956 when the Staatsoper's Herbert von Karajan had invited to Vienna the soprano Maria Callas and La Scala's orchestra to perform "Lucia di Lammermoor" by Gaetano Donizetti.

This year La Scala had been due to perform Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" starring Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon in Vienna.

The Staatsoper opens its 2011-2012 season on Saturday with top Spanish tenor Placido Domingo in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra".

The Staatsoper is headed up by Dominique Meyer and La Scala is directed by Stephane Lissner, both Frenchmen.

© 2011 AFP

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