Riccardo Muti didn’t leave La Scala under the best conditions when, after a reign as Musical Director of the theatre for twenty years, he was pushed out by his own orchestra. Now, in the year of his 75th birthday, he’s back for the first time since his ugly departure in 2005, with an exhibition in his honour in La Scala’s magnificent museum, as well as a return to the podium during the next season when he with conduct his Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Bridges being built is always an occasion for celebration, and celebrating the career of one of Italy’s greatest conductors is a timely thing to do as he edges towards his important birthday on 28th July.
Musician and musical commentator Lorenzo Arruga has curated the exhibition which opened yesterday. It covers the hundreds of opera performances with Muti in the pit – from Pergolesi to Poulenc – as well as the almost 400 concerts with La Scala’s orchestra in the theatre and on tour.
The exhibition – called, Riccardo Muti, the La Scala Years – covers both the man and his music, recognising his important collaborations with singers, directors and designers, as well as the repertoire he covered during his two decades with the theatre.
On the eve before the inauguration Muti was interviewed on the stage of La Scala and the audience expressed it’s fondness for the Maestro who sometimes gave them cause for complaint, but was never less than totally committed to the musical excellence of the Milanese theatre.
The exhibition, and the La Scala Museum, can be visited from 9am until midday, and from 1.30pm until 5pm every day.
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.