There were two reviews in Corriere della Sera of one of Daniel Harding’s performances at La Scala, suggesting that the paper did not trust its famously grouchy Paolo Isotta to provide an objective account. They were, it turns out, right to distrust him.
When La Scala took the extraordinary measure of withdrawing Isotta’s free tickets, it left the paper no alternative but to stand by its contentious critic. That said, the newspaper was as much at fault as Isotta. His review should not have been allowed to appear unedited in the paper.
Most media accept that discrimination on grounds of race, sex, sexuality and disability should never appear in print.
Isotta’s slur that Harding presented a ‘homosexualised Wagner’ was an expression of ill-defined prejudice. It was no different from writing that he conducted a Jewified Mahler, or a crippled Milhaud.
‘Homosexualised Wagner’ is an unacceptable expression of class abuse as well as an imprecise and misleading use of language. The term is meaningless and, therefore, a complete failure of criticism. In most civilised media, a critic would be called in for disciplinary action after writing such offensive nonsense.
Corriere, once it has finished standing by its man, needs to review its editorial options.