A few weeks back I wrote about attending Opera Australia's Aida. Only a week later the SBS network, coincidentally or malevolently, screened a performance of Aida from La Scala in Milan. The performance dated from around 2008 and was in the presence of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.
I watched that screening out of interest as a comparison with the performance I had attended in Sydney. I only intended to watch for a short time not expecting that I could stomach a full repeat so soon but ended up watching it in full.
The comparisons with OA's production were not flattering to us. La Scala clearly has the advantage over Sydney's Opera House in terms of stage space. Its epic production was both crowded and spacious at the same time whereas the Sydney staging was simply crowded with limited free movement possible.
It must be wonderful for the artists to have so much space to work with at La Scala yet at the same time it must give them headaches designing a staging that isn't lost in all that spaciousness.
The La Scala set was stunning. It was massive but it was so, so stylish. Ours looked like Ziegfeld Follies tizziness by comparison.
This afternoon I am attending OA's staging of South Pacific. I suspect that La Scala has never staged a Broadway musical and may never feel the need to do so.