Saturday, July 22, 2017
press release: On July 6 and 8, over 200 Italian and Iranian musicians will make history with two concerts, performing together on stage in Tehran and Ravenna led by Italian cultural ambassador, Riccardo Muti. The project, instigated and curated by the Ravenna Festival in collaboration with the Roudaki Foundation, Tehran, celebrates 20 years of “The Roads of Friendship ” – an annual lay pilgrimage, re-establishing ancient ties to places of historical importance. Joining Riccardo Muti on stage in both Tehran and Ravenna are the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, musicians from Italy’s major theatres, the chorus of Piacenza’s Municipal Theatre and members of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Choir. The programme is dedicated to highlights from Verdi’s operas with Italian soloists Piero Pretti, Luca Salsi and Riccardo Zanellato. This significant occasion comes to light less than two years after the re-birth of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra – whose eight-decade history has accompanied the events of the Country – and is the first international collaboration of Iranian and Western orchestras. Following three days of rehearsals in Tehran, the first concert will take place on July 6 in the elegant Vahdat Hall, home to the Roudaki Foundation. Following their return to Europe, the Italian musicians will host their Iranian counterparts for the second concert on July 8 at Ravenna’s 4000 seater concert hall – the Palazzo Mauro de André – and the event will be filmed for international broadcast by RAI TV. In advance of travelling to Iran, Riccardo Muti commented “Better than economy, better than politics, better than verbal languages, music can provide direct communication, tugging at the heartstrings with no need for mediation. And this leads to the concerts of the “Road of Friendship” programme, to the heart of their very reason for being.”
First pictures from Riccardo Muti’s peace-seeking concert in Tehran show him conducting an orchestra in which all of the women are wearing obligatory headscarves. The Chicago Symphony site has a summary of Iranian and Italian press reports, here.
Leonard Slatkin has conducted his final concerts as music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon (no connection to the city’s unhappy opera house). On the farewell tour, he conducted the orchestra in Ravenna, Italy, where the town’s resident maestro kept him up at dinner past two in the morning…. as he does. Here’s a happy pic of the Slatkins and the Mutis with a certain violinist squashed between. Read Leonard’s full post here. He has much to say about the recent Cliburn contest.
Italian media have just reported the death of Philip Gossett, editor of the critical Verdi edition, as well as many Rossini scores. Philip, who died today in Chicago after a long illness, was 76. Many maestros have expressed their gratitude for his deft work in clarifying uncertain passages in Verdi, chief among them Riccardo Muti, who worked with him on Attila and Rigoletto. He wrote two books on Donizetti and a third on performing practice in Italian opera.
Riccardo Muti will conduct Cosi fan tutte at the Vienna State Opera in 2019. His daughter Chiara Muti will direct. ‘She proved her talent with Manon Lescaut in Rome and Marriage of Figaro in Naples and Bari,’ says Papa Muti to the Italian press.
Two years ago, the Met orchestra was rocked by the resignation of both principal flutes. Denis Bouriakov went to Dudamel’s Los Angeles Philharmonic and Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson to Muti’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A years ago, the Met hired two stand-ins on a one-year contract : Demarre McGill, principal flute of Dallas, and Erik Gratton, principal of Nashville. Due to the delays involving tenure, auditions were not held to replace them until last week. On Friday, Gratton won the first place and Chelsea Knox the second. That means Demarre McGill, hugely gifted and popular, is left without a seat in this cruel game of musical chairs. He won’t go long without one. However…. and here’s the twist in the tale … we hear the Erik Gratton is telling friends he’s undecided whether to take the Met job or to return to Nashville, where his wife is associate concertmaster. Nothing’s easy in this musical world.