Riccardo Chailly opens 'Andrea Chernier' for La Scala opener

MILAN (AP) — Music director Riccardo Chailly says he had to start nearly from scratch with the orchestra to bring to the stage Umberto Giordano's opera "Andrea Chernier" for the gala season opener of La Scala.

The season-opener Thursday, held each year on the Milan feast day St. Ambrose, is considered one of the highlights of the European cultural calendar.

Although the history of "Andrea Chernie" is closely tied to La Scala, where it made its debut in 1896, the opera had fallen out of fashion along with the Italian "verismo" genre of booming tenors that it represents.

Chailly, now La Scala's music director, was the last to conduct it at La Scala in 1985, and just a handful of musicians in the orchestra knew it going into this season.