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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italy Invites Ivanov to See 'Unity' Opera

ROME -- Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said Monday he had invited his Russian and German counterparts to the premiere of Beethoven's "Fidelio" at Milan's La Scala opera house to symbolize political unity.

Dini said in an article published in Milan daily Corriere della Sera that Igor Ivanov and Germany's Joschka Fischer had agreed to make room in their busy diaries to attend Tuesday's performance, which opens the Milan opera season.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed they would attend.

"'Fidelio ... is much more than a musical event. It takes on a very particular symbolism because of the time, the contents and the place," Dini wrote.

"Fidelio is not just an opera about the love between a couple, but it is also about liberty denied, human rights violated and, at the end, the triumph of man and his values."

He said director Werner Herzog had erected a large wall in the center of the stage. "The prison imagined by Beethoven gathers together all the anguish of our times," Dini said.

"It represents a century sown with walls and fences, the last of which fell 10 years ago," he said, referring to the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.

"[Fischer and Ivanov], the representatives of two countries for which, more than many others, the fall of the wall changed history and began a great process of reconciliation, also want to join in a political reading of this event," Dini said.