How could a visit to Milan be complete without seeing a show at La Scala?!
It was Verdi’s Luisa Miller, and basically it was a cross between Lucia di Lammermoor and Romeo and Juliet.
SPOILER ALERT!!! Lol, just kidding. I’d never even heard of this opera, and I bet you haven’t either. So read on!
Rodolfo is the son of a Count, and Luisa the daughter of a peasant. They are already in love when the opera begins, though Luisa has no idea that Rodolfo is the son of her father’s liege lord. Rodolfo’s father the Count, of course, wants him to marry a Duchess, and has Luisa and her father arrested to keep the lovers apart. The Count threatens to kill Luisa’s father unless she writes a letter to Rodolfo saying she is in love with another. Rodolfo, receiving the letter and thinking that Luisa has been untrue, agrees to marry the Duchess. Luisa’s father is released but when she sees Rodolfo’s marriage procession from afar, thinks that he has been unfaithful to her. Rodolfo, still in despair and vowing revenge for Luisa’s unfaithfulness, slips into Luisa’s house and slips poison into some water, which they both drink. After drinking, he confronts her about her unfaithfulness, but she confesses that she wrote the letter under duress and was never unfaithful to Rodolfo. But of course it’s too late – they both die, and Luisa’s father is left alone holding his daughter’s body. Annnnnd CURTAIN!
Basically, it was VERY good – every single singer was phenomenal, particularly the baritone playing Luisa’s father, who actually got shouts of “Encore!” after his first aria. I’ve never heard that happen before at an opera performance, and La Scala audiences are supposed to be particularly tough. Check out this video of tenor Roberto Alagna (an intenational superstar and one of my favorite singers) getting booed off the stage at a performance of Aida at La Scala in 2006:
His understudy comes onto the stage wearing jeans to finish out the scene with Amneris!
But anyway, no such disaster occurred during Luisa Miller. Everything was fabulous, and I got to be glamorous in a cocktail dress sipping wine and sitting in a private box!