Italy’s beleagured Prime Minister Mario Monti paid a visit to Milan’s famous La Scala opera house on Friday, accompanied by his wife.
But even there, he found it difficult to escape the storm that continues to engulf Italian politics.
Many of the protestors referenced Monti’s austerity measures with pairs of scissors and placards reading “Cuts, only cuts”.
There was yet more controversy after La Scala broke with tradition this year and decided not to open their new season with an Italian composer.
Opting for Wagner over Milan’s own Verdi, the decision drew fierce criticism and claims from some quarters that German influence is not just limited to the Italian economy but also extending into cultural aspects.
Even President Giorgio Napolitano was drawn into the spat. He denied that his absence from the opening gala was a protest but that he had state business in Rome. Napolitano spent Friday in talks with the main parties to keep Monti’s party on track and avoid a dissolution of parliament.