- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2011

MILAN (AP) - La Scala will open its next season with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” which will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim, feature a new production by Canadian director Robert Carsen and mark the return of once-spurned tenor Giuseppe Filianoti.

The 2011-12 program announced Friday includes 13 operas _ seven of those new productions _ and seven ballets, two of which will be new.

The much-anticipated gala season premier of La Scala on Dec. 7 will star soprano Anna Netrebko in the role of Donna Anna and tenor Giuseppe Filianoti as Don Ottavio. Filianoti lashed out at La Scala in 2008 after he was removed from the gala opening night of “Don Carlo” due to mistakes in dress rehearsal.

Netrebko will feature in Puccini’s “La Boeheme” as Mimi, a roll she will share on alternating dates with Angela Gheorghiu and Anita Hartig.

The opera house will also stage Wagner’s “Siegfried,” the next installment of the German conductor’s “Ring” cycle conducted by Barenboim, a Wagner aficionado and La Scala’s chief guest conductor.

And it will reprise Franco Zeffirelli’s staging of Verdi’s “Aida” _ the 1963 version, not the 2006 one. Lissner called it a “homage” to La Scala’s history.

Ballets include “Giselle,” “Marguerite and Armand,” and “Onegin,” all starring Roberto Bolle.

General manager Stephane Lissner expressed confidence that the season will be more stable than last year when strikes forced the cancellation of some key performances.

The government is set to approve later this month new culture funds expected to put funding for the opera house at around euro28 million ($40.46 million) a year for 2011, 2012 and 2013, while allowing La Scala more flexibility in reaching local contracts with its workers, the opera house said.

That’s a decrease from euro32 million ($46.24 million) in 2009 and euro37 million ($53.46 million) in 2007 and 2008.

This would represent 46 percent of La Scala’s budget, the balance of which is funded from ticket and merchandise sales, sponsorship and donations. The city of Milan also will increase its contribution to euro3 million ($4.34 million), Mayor Letizia Moratti announced.

“We are still in difficulty,” Lissner said. “The positive thing is that there is stability. It is a sign that the government has decided you can’t make a financial decision one year, and change it the next. At least we have a decision for three years.”



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