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Strike closes La Scala again

'Requiem' perfomance canceled

A strike by La Scala’s 800 workers forced the opera house on Thursday to cancel a second performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” led by principal visiting conductor Daniel Barenboim.

“Requiem” was to have been performed Saturday in Parma to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of Arturo Toscanini’s death.

Officials also canceled Saturday’s performance of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” in Milan.

While last Friday’s performance of “Requiem” at La Scala also was canceled due to the labor dispute, other performances went on as scheduled, including a gala concert conducted by Daniele Gatti on Tuesday night marking 100 years of the Mondadori publishing house.

The ongoing labor tensions are casting a shadow over the 2007-08 premiere of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” scheduled for Dec. 7.

That’s the first opera Barenboim is to conduct at La Scala in his new role as principal guest conductor.

The premiere, the social and cultural event of the year in Milan society, has never been canceled by a strike, as far as officials can remember.

La Scala’s employees — including the orchestra and choir — say they have not had a pay raise in seven years. Managers say they cannot negotiate with employees unless there are national contract talks in the sector.

Just three days ago, national union officials submitted their position, the first step toward opening national talks, La Scala spokesman Carlo Maria Cella said. No timetable for talks has been set.

La Scala general manager Stephane Lissner has raised the issue with Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli.

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