The 69th Festival Puccini di Torre del Lago kicked off with major controversy when conductor Alberto Veronesi blindfolded his eyes in order to not see the new production being mounted at the festival.
According to reports, the new production of “La Bohème” by Christophe Gayral decided to change the setting to Paris in 1968 in the context of the student protest in France.
Veronesi decided to cover his eyes because he was not happy with the production. Following the performance, audience members booed him and called a “buffone!” and “scemo!” According to audience witnesses, the conductor answered that he did not want to see the scene.
Following the performance, the festival condemned Veronessi’s actions and said, his actions were “disrespectful” to the orchestra, the chorus, the actors, the soloists, and everyone who worked with passion and professionalism to realize the production.
The festival also added that it reserved the right to not let Veronessi conduct the rest of the performances.