Just a week after unconfirmed reports in the Italian press suggested Riccardo Chailly is to be the next music director of La Scala, it has been announced that the company’s current director, Daniel Barenboim , will be stepping down from his post two years early at the beginning of 2015. The leading conductor and pianist became music director of the Italian opera house in 2011. Stephane Lissner, superintendent of La Scala, who is also leaving in 2014 to manage Paris Opera, has described Barenboim’s departure as ‘the end of an era'.
Barenboim, who turns 71 this year, recently led Wagner’s Ring Cycle in the UK as part of the BBC Proms. During 2014, he will conduct Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at La Scala, and will open the company’s 2014-15 season with Beethoven’s Fidelio. He will also continue to work as music director of the Berlin State Opera and Staatskapelle Berlin, and with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
It has long been suggested that La Scala wanted an Italian as its musical boss, making Chailly – who was born and trained in Milan – a natural fit. Aged 20, he served as assistant to La Scala's then-music director Claudio Abbado and it was at La Scala that he made his conducting debut. A decision on the company’s next music director is expected next month.