- Associated Press - Monday, March 21, 2011

MILAN (AP) - Milan’s La Scala opera house paused for a minute of silence to honor the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

General manager Stephane Lissner asked the audience at La Scala’s premiere of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on Sunday night for “a minute of reflection dedicated to the dead.”

Lissner said the Japanese people “deserve our solidarity and our admiration for the strength and dignity with which they have confronted” the March 11 disaster.

La Scala has toured Japan seven times since 1981, when it became the first Italian opera house to visit the Asian nation. Its last tour there was in 2009.

Lissner described Japan as a “most curious, passionate and welcoming” host for La Scala’s artists.