Always one of the keynote events on Europe's cultural calendar, the opera season has begun at La Scala in Milan.
The theatre chose to open with Umberto Giordano's "Andrea Chernier", which debuted here back in 1898, but had fallen out of fashion.
But the audience loved it, rewarding the cast and musical director Riccardo Chailly, who last conducted the work in 1985, with an 11-minute standing ovation.
"My opinion is that it is a rather risky choice. But I must say, from the very first impression, I liked scenography very much. I do not know this work while I know many others," said one music lover.
Another audience member agreed:
"It looks beautiful, I do not know the work well but the staging seems amazing at the height of a very Milanese first, very beautiful."
Of course, everyone who's anyone donned evening dress for the first night, including the Mayor, several government ministers, and the former prime minister and European commissioner Mario Monti.
La Scala should be very pleased with the box office. "Andrea Chernier" took in nearly 2.5 million euros.