Shows are "like food, like cakes: some may like them, some may not." Lluis Pasqual, the director of Don Carlo who yesterday inaugurated La Scala's opera season, dismissed with a pinch of irony and a simile the objections that came from a part of the audience to his staging considered not very eventful.
"To me, people seemed happy. I heard a vague noise and afterwards they told me that there had been some protest - he explained after the performance - I feel the responsibility in front of Verdi, I feel like an assistant to the composer and I wanted to bring this black story to La Scala", as the main color, together with gold, which he used in the staging.
Pasqual spent a long time in Milan, where he was assistant to Giorgio Strehler. "It is a privilege to know him and see him rehearse and to replace him in Paris at the Odéon - he said - He was a friend, a father that I went to visit when I was in crisis". "He taught me that you should always aim to paint the Sistine Chapel, even if you never make it, You have to raise the bar because it's not worth taking a small leap," he added.
And Pasqual treasured the teaching. In 1976, during the Franco era, for example, he founded the independent Teatre Lliure in Barcelona. But there are also other directors with whom he has formed a deep bond. A bond that is not father-son but as an equal, in terms of age and tastes, for example he has made it with Pedro Almodovar who yesterday came to La Scala in Milan to see his Don Carlo. "We've known him for many years, since the time of the Movida and we often use the same actors. Antonio Banderas," he said, "started with me. Almodovar saw him in one of my shows and took him." The rest is film history.
This Don Carlo, on the other hand, is the story of the loneliness of power, secular and religious ("two misfortunes of the world are nationalism and religion" he said at the presentation of the show). The fact that it was the December 7 premiere didn't put him under pressure. "I know what Sant'Ambrogio is for the Milanese and if I were 25 or 30 years old I would feel like it, but I'm 73 and I only feel the responsibility in front of Verdi."
The city is one of his favorites, in fact it is his "second city". "I find it a bit transformed, for the worse. I used to go for a walk outside the Piccolo in Via Fiori Chiari and it was like walking in a convent, while now it is full of people and shopping shops. But," he concluded, "Milan is always Milan, I have it in my heart."
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