SHARE
COPY LINK

OPERA

Woody Allen debuts at Milan’s La Scala opera house

Woody Allen is making his debut at Milan's legendary La Scala opera house directing a Puccini production before a European audience apparently unswayed by historic sex abuse allegations.

Woody Allen debuts at Milan's La Scala opera house
Inside La Scala opera house in Milan. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Journalists at a press conference were told to limit questions to the production of Giacomo Puccini's “Gianni Schicchi” which debuts on Saturday. 

Amazon put Allen's latest film “A Rainy Day in New York” on ice over decades-old sex abuse allegations against the US director, but another distributor will release the film in Europe later this year.

When asked why he thought he was better received in Europe than in the US, 83-year-old Allen said “I don't know.”

“When I started making movies 50 years ago… I always had a very warm and affectionate following in Europe and even when films of mine were not as well received in the United States, in Italy, France and Germany they received my films.”

“The opera will run until July 19, performed by students at the world-famous Scala. Allen's production was first performed in Los Angeles in 2008.

“The students are just fantastic and they are doing a great, great job making the opera exactly the way I wanted and also fulfilling Puccini's goals,” Allen said.

“One of the great pleasures in my life has been able to take a break from doing movies and movies and movies and coming to La Scala and staging an opera at this iconic opera house,” he said.

In February, Allen filed a $68 million (60 million euro) lawsuit against Amazon for breach of contract, accusing the streaming giant of cancelling the film because of a “baseless” accusation that he sexually abused his daughter.

Allen has faced growing isolation over allegations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow as a seven-year-old in 1992, leading a string of actors to distance themselves from him.

 
The allegations, which have never been proved, resurfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

He was cleared of the charges, first levelled by his then-partner Mia Farrow, after two separate months-long investigations, and has steadfastly denied the abuse. But Dylan, now an adult, maintains she was molested.

READ ALSO: 'That time when…': Italian women speak up about sexual harassment

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CULTURE

Why Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky date in Italy

Unlucky for some, but not for Italians. Here's why today's date isn't a cause for concern in Italy - but Friday the 17th is.

Why Friday the 13th isn't an unlucky date in Italy

When Friday the 13th rolls around, many of us from English-speaking countries might reconsider any risky plans. And it’s not exactly a popular date for weddings in much of the western world.

But if you’re in Italy, you don’t need to worry about it.

There’s no shortage of strongly-held superstitions in Italian culture, particularly in the south. But the idea of Friday the 13th being an inauspicious date is not among them.

Though the ‘unlucky 13’ concept is not unknown in Italy – likely thanks to the influence of American film and TV – here the number is in fact usually seen as good luck, if anything.

The number 17, however, is viewed with suspicion and Friday the 17th instead is seen as the unlucky date to beware of.

Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted on Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors, and so on – so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of.

The reason for this is thought to be because in Roman numerals the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning ‘I have lived’: the use of the past tense apparently suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

So don’t be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some Italian shops and offices closed per scaramanzia’.

But why then does 13 often have a positive connotation in Italy instead?

You may not be too surprised to learn that it’s because of football.

Ever heard of Totocalcio? It’s a football pools betting system in which players long tried to predict the results of 13 different matches.

There were triumphant calls of ho fatto tredici! – ‘I’ve done thirteen’ – among those who got them all right. The popular expression soon became used in other contexts to mean ‘I hit the jackpot’ or ‘that was a stroke of luck!’

From 2004, the number of games included in Totocalcio rose to 14, but you may still hear winners shout ‘ho fatto tredici’ regardless.

Other common Italian superstitions include touching iron (not wood) for good luck, not toasting with water, and never pouring wine with your left hand.

SHOW COMMENTS