Riccardo Muti’s daughter is about to make her directing début: Chiara Muti will direct Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna, which her father will conduct, for the Ravenna Festival. Oh yes, her mother, Cristina Mazzavillani is the Festival’s artistic director. Nice and cozy… keep it in the family.
Chiara Muti isn’t new to the theatre. She emerged from the prestigious theatre school of Milan’s Piccolo Teatro in 1995. She’s played Lady Macbeth alongside Italian heartthrob Raol Bova, and has worked in film and television. With M° Muti as her father she grew up watching opera, seeing workings of an opera house from the inside. She might well be an excellent opera director.
There’s no “it’s been difficult working in the same business as my extraordinarily successful and powerful father” for her. At least Chiara Muti has no qualms of being photographed for the cover of the magazine of Italy’s biggest selling newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, to talk about her new artistic endeavour.
Il Maestro explained his decision:
I offered her this work because she’s ready. She’s acted in film and theatre, plays the piano, draws excellently: at home I’ve got a framed design for Così fan tutte which she did when she was little . She’s seen the great productions at La Scala, Salzburg, Vienna. She was 7 or 8 when she stayed awake until 2 am to see the final lighting rehearsals. And also, I know what she thinks about directing.
In fact, Chiara says that they are very similar.
In our characters, in our reaction to the small thing: an expression when watching a news item on tv, the way of moving our hands, our hands are the same. Of the three children I’m the one who’s has inherited the good and bad side of Muti.
Perfectionism: at times it makes you want to run away for fear of not being good enough. My mother told me that at the beginning Daddy had many doubts about his ability to do justice to the great composers. This is because he sets his targets high. But sometimes you must have the courage to go for it, with a certain amount of folly, though always with discipline. Prepared to make mistakes, and then to learn from them.
The Maestro certainly didn’t want his daughter to become a singer.
I asked my mother to teach me some famous opera arias, when he arrived home unexpectedly: “What’s this train whistle? Oh no, don’t become a singer, it is one of the worst professions; always a slave to your vocal chords.”
Chiara and Riccardo Muti were interviewed by Anna Maria Speroni; the photos for the Corriere were by Marco Laconte.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.