Milan’s opera house defends conductor Daniel Harding after newspaper prints personal attack.

One of Britain’s leading conductors has sparked a furore between the La Scala opera house and the newspaper Corriere della Seraafter their theatre critic accused him of making ­Wagner sound “homosexual”.

Paolo Isotta, a respected but frequently controversial arts critic for the Italian daily newspaper, first criticised Daniel Harding’s conducting of Verdi’s Falstaffas “heavy and pedantic” before lambasting his performance of part of Tristan und Isolde, stating: “Harding’s conducting was so soft it made you think he wanted to support the unfounded theory that Wagner was homosexual.”

At this point Stéphane Lissner, La Scala’s general manager, decided that the cantankerous critic had gone too far. “Isotta has decided to wage a personal campaign”, Mr Lissner said, claiming ­that he used his reviews as “instruments of power”. As a result the critic has been taken off the La Scala press list and declared unwelcome in the opera house.

Ferrucio de Bortoli, the editor of the Corriere, defended his unpredictable critic at the weekend claiming that Lissner has been trying to get Isotta dropped from the paper for the last two years. La Scala fired back that their boss...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now