By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
This morning I opened the Sunday New York Times and gravitated immediately to the Arts and Leisure section. A large color picture of Riccardo Muti stared back at me accompanied by Zachary Woolfe’s article “Golden Boy With Silver Hair”. While I am personally acquainted with Mr. Muti, his conducting reputation has fascinated me for some years. Perhaps it is become he is a Neapolitan [he was born in Naples, Italy], but he was raised outside of Bari in Southern Italy, the turf of my paternal family’s people. Whatever the allure of Riccardo Muti, it is thrilling to know he has been the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [CSO] since 2010. Having him so close in The Heartland warms my heart. To know that he left La Scala in Milan, Italy for the conducting post near my hometown is a musical coup d’état worth noting.
Reading about Riccardo Muti and the CSO’s homage to Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday, reminded me of my intense classical music years as both a performer and as an admirer in the audience. Not that I played an orchestral instrument, rather I was a soprano, a singer. Verdi’s La Traviata is one of my favorites of his operas, but I also cherish Il Trovatore and Falstaff, Verdi’s only comic opera. It pleased me to know that Muti and the CSO are planning on performing Falstaff in another several years, after they finish out a current season of Macbeth concert-version performances. Muti’s sense of making opera accessible to the people is laudable since opera was for the people, more or less, until it became so expensive. At least the masses may attend dress rehearsals at, I suspect, little or no cost as long as Muti is the maestro.
My birthday looms on the near horizon. If anyone is wondering what sort of gift I would like, tickets to the CSO would please me greatly.
Ciao for now.