ITALY gave birth to opera, but in its home country the art form now carries a distinct air of maledizione (curse). Of Italy’s 14 major opera houses—the ones supported by the federal government—12 are in the red. Last September, a strike over pay forced Genoa’s opera house to cancel its first production of the season. The Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari has also cancelled performances due to lack of funds, and in February the general manager of the Opera di Firenze resigned after trade unions refused his proposed pay cuts.
Opera houses, dark on performance nights: what an irony in the country where Jacopo Peri established the genre with “La Dafne” over four centuries ago. Even without cancelled performances Italy lags behind most of Europe: it has 23 opera performances per million residents, compared to 139 in Austria and 83 in Germany. Even Latvia has nearly twice as…Continue reading
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